A gumbo of French, Spanish, and American influences, the architecture of New Orleans has always reflected the city's strong Catholic roots. Indeed, St. Louis Cathedral across from Jackson Square stands as perhaps the most widely recognized face of New Orleans. The cathedral, though, is just one of many stunning churches that beautifully reflect the city's long and diverse Catholic heritage. Splendors of Faith showcases thirteen of these historic churches of exceptional architectural and artistic beauty, revealing scenic treasures that lie mostly beyond the well-worn tourist paths.
The earliest of the thirteen, St. Louis Cathedral, traces its origin to 1727. The most recent, Immaculate Conception, was built in 1930 but modeled after its mid-nineteenth-century predecessor. The eleven other churches are Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Holy Name of Jesus, Mater Dolorosa, Our Lady of the Rosary, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph, St. Mary's Assumption, St. Patrick, St. Peter Claver, and St. Stephen.
In image and word, photographer Frank J. Methe and historian Charles E. Nolan capture the splendor of these places of worship. Methe provides sumptuously detailed color photographs of the churches and their interior décor. Nolan offers enlightening commentary about each edifice, its congregation, and the rich variety of art forms assembled over the years: architecture, stained glass, statuary, mosaics, paintings, and more.
New Orleans Catholics and their churches experienced dramatic change after Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaks. The buildings featured here, some of which suffered major damage in 2005, continue to serve as places of worship, bearing witness to a vibrant cultural component in one of the country's most beloved cities. Splendors of Faith takes readers inside these landmark churches and reveals their aesthetic and historical significance as never before.
Charles E. Nolan (left) is the retired archivist of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and a retired adjunct professor of historical and pastoral theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He has written, edited, or contributed to more than forty books on southern Catholic history and records. He lives in Long Beach, Mississippi, with his wife, Gayle, and their three rescue cats, Katie, Curious, and Prima.Frank J. Methe (right) is the photographer and photo editor for the Clarion Herald, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He has published his photos in several books, most recently Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, by Charles Nolan.
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