Photography by John DeMajo and Kathleen DeMajo Adams

(Old Ursuline Convent)

1116 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA.

History of St.Mary's Church, 1100 Charters Street, New Orleans, LA.

Saint Mary's Catholic Church (named by Archbishop Shulte in March of 1994) was built in 1845 as the Chapel of the Archbishops during the administration of Bishop Antoine Blanc. The ground on which the chapel was constructed originally was the site of the Ursuline Convent and chapel dating to the arrival of the Ursulines in New Orleans. After the Ursulines moved down river in 1824, the site became the residence of the Archbishop of New Orleans. The church has born several names through its existence. It was originally called Stainte Marie de l'Archeveche and later Holy Trinity. Later, it became St. Mary's Italian Church, the official Italian parish of the Archdiocese, with services in the Italian language for the many Sicilian and Italian immigrants who settled in the lower French Quarter. In 1976, the name was changed to Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the Ursulines and their role in the winning of the Battle of New Orleans. Overall, the church has served the French, Spanish, Creole, Irish, German, Slovenian and Italian people as well as native Indians and the Sisters of the Holy Family who are predominantly an African-American order. The original Pilcher organ, built in 1890 for the Ursulines by the Pilcher Bros. of New Orleans, now stands restored and functional in the church choir loft. The church has now been named St. Mary's Church and it is part of the Antoine Blanc Memorial and Archdiocesan Archives housed at the Vieux Carre location.

The Pilcher organ, although now installed in the original Ursuline Chapel, was originally built and installed in the second Ursuline Convent which was located along the Industrial Canal in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. The photo below depicts that building.

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