January 30, 2009

Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France, New Orleans, LA

While in New Orleans, I toured the historic St. Louis Cathedral.

The original cathedral was completed around 1726, but was one of the buildings burned to the ground in 1788.  Construction on a new church began five years later and was completed on April 25, 1793 making the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France the oldest cathedral still in service in the United States.  

This statue in New Orleans depicts Saint Joan holding her banner high - The Order of the Thistle is outside the cathedral and one of many tributes to Joan of Arc located throughout the city.
Another scultpure of Saint Joan inside the cathedral again with her banner and her shield.  What woman does not identify with the self sacrifice of Saint Joan?  Her devotion,  self sacrifice and faith are eternal symbols of the feminine spirit.  

To me cathedrals are not only spiritual and holy places of worship, but museums featuring some of the most remarkable art collections and craftsmanship.  The frescos, gold leaf, stained glass, mosaics, cabinetry, and sculpture are of the highest quality.  It reminds me of the skill of artists past that devoted a lifetime to mastering their trades passed to them generation, after generation.  A lost art and tradition.  

In 1825 Francisco Zapari, an Italian painter, was employed at a fee of $1855 to decorate the interior of the church and its three altars.  He is the only artist I have been able to identify who is given credit for his contribution to the cathedral.

Candles flickering reflecting the prayers of the faithful.

This miniature mosaic in vivid Mediterranean colors was remarkable and caught my eye as I dabble humbly in mosaics myself.  I have a sincere appreciation for the skill involved to create this tiny detailed mosaic that measured 5x8 inches.
You can see the entire ceiling at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France website.  When traveling to New Orleans, please carve out an hour to visit the cathedral located in Jackson Square by the waterfront.

1 comment:

Karen from A`Musements said...

Thank you for showing THE most beautiful... just breathtaking.... photos of New Orleans. What an incredible trip you must have had. Can you believe, even when you see these things with your own eyes, how magnificent they are? You had a wonderful post and I really appreciate getting the chance to see these places through the lens of your camera!