Columns » Blake Pontchartrain: New Orleans Trivia

Blake Pontchartrain: Our Lady of Lourdes church

The former rectory is being converted into offices for the New Orleans Opera Association

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Hey Blake,

Once upon a time my family lived on LaSalle Street across from Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Most of the nine children in our family attended the school and my husband and I were married there. I see that there is construction going on there. Can you tell us about the church's history and its future?

Bridget

Dear Bridget,

  New life is coming to the historic former church near Freret Street and Napoleon Avenue. The original Our Lady of Lourdes church, rectory and school were dedicated at that spot in September 1905. A new church was built and opened next door 20 years later, in May 1925. Cardinal Patrick Hayes, Archbishop of New York, attended the dedication ceremonies.

  Our Lady of Lourdes School, with its entrance on Jena Street, was operated by the Dominican Sisters for most of its existence.

  The church was badly damaged in 2005 by flooding caused by the levee breaches, and the Archdiocese of New Orleans determined it was not feasible to make the necessary repairs. In 2008, the church parish was merged with St. Matthias to form Blessed Trinity Parish. In 2012, Holy Rosary Academy and High School moved there from its campus on Esplanade Avenue. Now Uptown, it educates students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

  Last summer, the former church was sold for $1.3 million. Construction is underway to convert the church rectory into offices for the New Orleans Opera Association. That work should be completed by this summer. A second phase of construction is planned to convert the rest of the church for use by the local opera company.

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