Facing Jackson Square and flanked by the historic Cabildo on one side and the equally historic Presbytere on the other, St. Louis Cathedral is among the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter. And one of the most recognizable. It has been seen in hundreds of movies, TV shows and other visual presentations and it is a local and international architectural icon.
As the mother church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral has a long and interesting history. It is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States, originally built in 1727 and dedicated to King Louis IX of France, “The Crusading King” who was later canonized by the Church. The original St. Louis Cathedral burned during the great fire of 1794 and was rebuilt. The present structure was completed in the 1850s.
In September 1987 the cathedral witnessed the historic visit of Pope John Paul II and the plaza directly in front of the church was renamed in the pope’s honor. Shortly afterward the status of the Cathedral was upgraded to a Basilica.