Photography by John and Kathleen DeMajo
OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR CATHOLIC CHURCH
148 Fourth Street, Westwego, LA.
HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF PROMPT SUCCOR PARISH, WESTWEGO, LA.
The present church building was constructed in 1955. It is built of steel and Louisiana brick with terracota roof tiles. The foundation has 327 wood/concrete composite piles that extend 77 feet into the ground. One of the interesting things about this building is that it is probably the last church constructed in the true Gothic style of the 1920's. The architecture is so true that it is hard to believe the building was constructed as late as 1955. The firm of Diboll-Kessels and Associates was the architect and George J. Glover Company was the general contractor. Based on photos contained in the dedication booklet by Roger Baudier KSG, the church remains unchanged from its 1956 appearance.
1858: The town of Westwego, (known as Salaville at the time) was served by the Waggaman, Louisiana parish of Our Lady Of The Angles.
1890: Gretna was established as a parish. In 1893, a terrible hurricane caused settlers to move inland to the Westwego area.
1900: Priests from St. Joseph Parish in Gretna began to serve the area. Fr. Halbedl, and Fr. Ernest Ehrhart were the two priests who ministered during this period. When Father Earhart died in 1905, he was replaced by Rev. Theophile Stenmans. At the request of the people of the area, Fr. Stenmans constructed a chapel in Westwego in 1906. This was the beginning of the parish of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
1919: Four lots of ground were donated by the Marrero Land Company and this became the present location of the church.
1920: The chapel was replaced by a permanent church on the present property. A permanent priest, Monsignor Koenig, was appointed. The church building was a disassembled church from New Orleans which had been stored in the area.
1921: A State charter is issued for the Roman Catholic Church at Westwego.
1923: A permanent school is built. It was staffed by the Sisters of Mount Carmel.
1949: A new parish sprouts from Our Lady Of Prompt Succor in Bridge City. It is called Sacred Heart Chapel.
1955: The parish continued to grow and a new church was needed to house the congregation. Ground is broken for the present church.
(Notes from historical works of Roger Baudier KSG.)
Second church, reassembled wood frame building from New Orleans which had been previously used by Holy Name Parish, and which had been stored prior to reassembly at the Westwego site.
Organ constructed in 1956 by New Orleans builder August Laine. Console is by Reisner, and pipework was recycled from various sources.
|Bourdon 16'||Open Diapason 16'||Bourdon 16'|
|Open Diapason 8'||Open Diapason 8'||Violin Diapason 8'|
|Gedecht 8'||Principal 8'||Melodia 8'|
|Octave 4'||Flute 8'||Viol d' Orchestre 8'|
|Flute 4'||Octave 4'||Open Diapason 8'|
|Trumpet 8'||Principal 4'||Principal 4'|
|Flute 4'||Flute D'Amour 4'|
|Quint 2-2/3'||Violin 4'|
|Flautina 2'||Quint 2-2/3'|
|Fifteenth 2'||Fifteenth 2'|
|Trumpet 8'||Piccolo 2'|
The Opus 5903 Moller Diapason rank (left) originally came from a 2 manual 27 stop organ built for Tharp Sontheimer Tharp Mortuary in New Orleans. The exact origin of the rest of the pipe work is still under investigation, however, it has been established that this instrument was constructed in the 1950's by local organ builder August Laine, from components of instruments that had been removed from other New Orleans area facilities, including a Wurlitzer theater organ.
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