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The Archbishopric: 1910

New Orleans circa 1910. "The Archbishopric." Note the cistern and chicken coop. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

New Orleans circa 1910. "The Archbishopric." Note the cistern and chicken coop. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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That simple wood fence separating the formal garden from the service yard seems to have been replaced by a large hedge in the modern picture. A much better solution.

Oldest Building in the Mississippi Valley

The following entry from the 1900 Picayune's guide was wrong on the age of the building: the convent was designed by French Colonial Engineers in 1745 and was under construction until 1753.

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1900.


This is an exceedingly interesting place. It is the oldest building in Louisiana. Entrance may be had through a quaintly constructed portal, defended by double gates, piercing the wall in the middle of the Chartres street front. The porter's lodge is within this portal. The buildings face a spacious lawn. They were erected between 1727 and 1734 for the use of the Ursuline nuns, who came over from France, at Bienville's solicitations, to take charge of the military hospital, establish a charity hospital and a convent school for girls. The nuns resided in this ancient building until 1824. when they removed to their present domicile, a mile or two below the city.

The old building has seen various uses, not the least interesting of which is that in 1831 it was the State Capitol, and the legislature held its sessions within its walls. The building was at that time leased by the State of Louisiana from the Ursuline nuns. Shortly afterward, the lease having expired, the Ursulines presented it to the then reigning Archbishop of New Orleans as a place of residence for the archbishops of the diocese. It was so used until 1899, when a number of Catholic clergy and laity determined, shortly after the accession of Archbishop Chapelle, to purchase the Slocomb residence in Esplanade avenue as a place of residence for the archbishops.

The historic old site in Chartres street, however, is still retained as the “Archbishopric,” and is used for the transaction of all the official business of the archdiocese. The Archbishop and the Chancellor have their offices here, and it is the official place designated for all important ecclesiastical meetings. No one should leave New Orleans without visiting this ancient building. It remains exactly as .when first erected. The visitor should remark the ancient staircase, the steps of which are single, massive pieces of timber, deeply worn by the feet of many generations. The chapel contains a little oratory and shrine. The reception room, on the lower floor, is beautifully paneled in cypress, and contains a curious old clock. The shutters of cypress over the main entrance to the palace are over 160 years old, and are still perfectly sound. On the third floor of the building may still be seen the quaint little cells used by the Ursuline nuns in 1727, and the old-fashioned desk in the “community room,” at which the superioress sat and presided when the nuns met for instruction, meditation and prayer. …

Street View 0.00001

The perspective in this photo reminds me a lot of some of Google's street views. Except this one is in grayscale.

[They even blurred out the pedestrian! - Dave]

Still there

minus the Chicken Coop. A Google street view.

[Funny how the building looked much older a hundred years ago. - Dave]

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