The beloved but controversial priest who is forever linked with St. Louis Cathedral

The beloved but controversial priest who is forever linked with St. Louis Cathedral

The Instances-Picayune is marking the tricentennial of New Orleans with its ongoing 300 for 300 venture, operating via 2018 and highlighting 300 individuals who have made New Orleans New Orleans, that includes unique art work commissioned by | The Instances-Picayune with The place Y’Artwork gallery. At this time: Francisco Idelfonso Mareno, higher referred to as Pere Antoine.

The legacy: His delivery title was Francisco Idelfonso Mareno, however the Capuchin friar who for years served because the rector at St. Louis Cathedral was identified by everybody within the metropolis — and nonetheless is — as Pere Antoine, no different title mandatory. Pere Antoine was as religious as he was strong-willed, a lot as to be controversial, as together with his try to import the Spanish Inquisition to Louisiana in 1789, an effort that noticed him exiled from the town for a time. He would return, mellowed however religious as ever, and he would find yourself incomes the enduring affection of his flock for his willingness to minister to everybody, be they poor, enslaved or imprisoned. When church officers tried to unseat him a second time in 1805, his congregation had sufficient, electing him their parish priest — the folks’s priest — and an workplace he held the remainder of his life.

The artist: Alexandra Kilburn.

The quote: “Among the many Catholic clergy, Father Antoine, a Capuchin, stands out and extremely deserves the esteem through which he’s held by the Catholics in addition to by the Protestants. He’s a real father of the sick, the helpless and the forsaken.” — writer and traveler Charles Sidons, in 1827, after visiting New Orleans

Discover extra of Alexandra Kilburn’s work on-line at WhereYart.internet and in particular person on the The place Y’Artwork gallery, 1901 Royal St.


He was born in Sedella, Spain, in 1748. Upon turning into a priest as a younger man, he took the spiritual title Antonio.
Padre Antonio de Sedella arrived in New Orleans round 1779, which was 11 years earlier than Spain ceded Louisiana again to France within the Treaty of San Ildefonso. Within the then-still-heavily-French metropolis, he grew to become referred to as Pere Antoine.
He lived a Spartan existence in a small unadorned cabin on Cloister Alley — later named St. Anthony Alley and, as it’s identified right now, Pere Antoine Alley — containing a naked flooring, a tough desk, a chair, a crucifix and a small pallet for sleeping.
Ten years after his arrival, Pere Antoine knowledgeable Gov. Esteban Rodriguez Miro that he had been appointed Commissary of the Inquisition, that his “preparations had been full” and that he meant to instantly start arresting heretics and implementing strict Catholic orthodoxy. Miro expelled him to Spain the next day.
“Once I learn the communication of that Capuchin, I shuddered,” Miro would later write to Madrid. “The very title of Inquisition uttered in New Orleans can be enough not solely to verify immigration … however can be able to driving away those that have lately come right here.”
Based on historian Grace King, when the outdated Spanish jail — behind the Cabildo — was demolished 5 a long time after Pere Antoine’s expulsion, secret dungeons containing what was described as torture gadgets had been found. The supposition: That it represented the “preparations” referenced by Pere Antoine.
An apparently extra rational Antoine returned to the town about 1795. Speak of the Inquisition stayed behind in Spain.
He’s stated to have presided over the baptism and first marriage of Marie Laveau, the town’s well-known voodoo queen. Laveau and Antoine are believed to have develop into one thing between mates acquaintances as they each ministered to the town’s sick and dying throughout the identical the identical period.
As legend holds, he refused to permit the bells at St. Louis Cathedral to be sounded as an alarm throughout the Nice Fireplace of 1788 as a result of it was Good Friday. An estimated two-thirds of the town burned on account of that fireplace.
Talking of bells, Pere Antoine in 1819 christened the bell in a rebuilt St. Louis Cathedral, naming it “Victoire” — or “victory” — after Gen. Andrew Jackson’s defeat of the British within the Battle of New Orleans 4 years prior.
Pere Antoine died Jan. 19, 1829, on the age of 80 or 81 and was buried beneath St. Louis Cathedral.
When he died, the Metropolis Council handed a measure through which they pledged to put on black crepe on their arms for 30 days in his honor.
Along with Pere Antoine Alley, St. Anthony’s Backyard, behind the cathedral, was named after Pere Antoine’s patron saint and devoted in his reminiscence.
There are those that say the ghost of Pere Antoine nonetheless walks his namesake alley and may generally be noticed contained in the cathedral itself.
A palm tree on Orleans Road was for years referred to as the Pere Antoine Palm, and — for causes not likely clear — it was rumored that dangerous fortune would befall anybody who harmed the tree. It was reduce down in 1887, however not earlier than Thomas Bailey Aldrich stoked the legend together with his 1873 quick story titled “Pere Antoine’s Date-Palm.”

Supply: The Instances-Picayune archives; “New Orleans: The Place and the Folks,” by Grace King; workers analysis

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