Saint Louis Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Louis, Roi de France), Also Known As The Basilica Of St. Louis, King Of France, Is The Seat Of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese Of New Orleans. It Has The Distinction Of Being The Oldest Continuously Operating Cathedral In The United States.
The First Church On The Site Was Built In 1718. The Third, Built In 1789, Was Raised To Cathedral Rank In 1793. The Cathedral Was Expanded And Largely Rebuilt In 1850, with Little Of The 1789 Structure Remaining.
The Triple-Spired Cathedral That Is The International Symbol For New Orleans Is More Than A Church. It's A Working Cemetery As Well.
The Mortal Remains Of Twelve Bishops And Archbishops, As Well As The Unmarked Graves Of Scores Of Early Residents Of The French And Spanish Colony Lie Beneath The Cathedral's Floor.
The Former New Orleanian Prelates Are Found Buried In A Crypt Below The Crimson Carpet In The Sanctuary Located In Beneath The Main Altar. Eight New Burial Bessels Were Constructed During The Episcopate Of Archbishop Francis Bible Schulte. Monsignor Philip Matthew Hannan Was Buried In One Of These Vaults Following His Death In 2011, At The Far Right Of The Sanctuary, Near The Wall - The Ninth In A Wall-To-Wall Line Of Subterranean Crypts Bearing Predecessor Bishops And Archbishops Going Back To Leo Raymond de Neckere, Who Died In 1833. Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel Lies Beneath The Floor A Few Feet Away, In The Center Of The Somewhat Ragged Row.
All In But Two Cases, Final Resting Places Are Unmarked.
Instead, Past Bishops And Archbishops Are Memorialized By Wall-Mounted Plaques Along The Perimeter Of The Cathedral, Without Reference To Where Their Remains Lie.
Within The Cathedral, Only Two Actual Burial Sites Are Marked: One For Francois Philippe Marigny de Mandeville, Landowner And Soldier Who Died In 1728, And Another For Andres Almonester y Roxas, A Spanish Philanthropist Who Died In 1798, After Founding What Would Become Charity Hospital. They Lie On Each Side Of The Main Aisle, Short Of The Sanctuary.
Beyond The Sanctuary, Scattered About Beneath The Pews Stretching Toward Jackson Square, Lie The Remains Of Many More Colonial New Orleanians, Clergy And Lay Alike.
Before 1803, They Were Buried Inside The Cathedral's Predecessor Building, Which Stood On The Same Site Until 1850. That Building Was Demolished To Make Way For The Wider, Deeper Church That Opened A Year Later. The Width Of The Old Building Was Roughly Defined By The Rows Of Interior Pillars In Its Successor.
Within The Footprint Of That Earlier, Narrow Church, The Locations Of Those Early Graves Are Lost, But Their Burial Records Still Endure In The Archives Of The Archdiocese Of New Orleans: Male Child Bosques, Buried In 1798; Juana Maria Destrehan, Buried In 1798; Luis Chauvin Beaulieu, Buried In 1801; And Costancia de Reggio, Buried In 1796.
They Are Under The Pews, Somewhere.
Three Auxiliary Bishops Lie In The Cathedral, Although Not Under The Sanctuary. Three Empty Vaults In St. Anthony's Garden, Behind The Cathedral, Are Available For Others.
GPS Coordinates: 29.958, -90.0638
- Added: 8 Dec 2010
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2380341
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