Stained glass windows and frescoes create just some of the beauty of St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center, formally known as St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. Located at 2045 Constance Street, the church was built in 1855 by the Redemptorist Fathers. The church was erected to serve the needs of a multitude of Irish Catholics who had begun to settling near the French Quarter.
The church served the area for years until after World War II, when people began to leave intercity New Orleans for the suburbs. Faced with increasing operating costs as well as the expense of maintenance, the Redemporists closed the church in the late 1970s.
But before it closed its doors, the church served many native New Orleans’ including famed writer, Anne Rice. St. Alphonsus was her childhood parish and the church where she was baptized and went to school. The parish was then later merged with St. Mary’s across the street when St. Alphonsus closed its doors.
The church might have stayed closed had it not been for a group of concerned citizens who formed in 1990 to save the building. After viewing the abandoned church and seeing the stained glass windows that dated back to 1870, the group felt compelled to save the beautiful historic church from the deterioration and neglect it had experienced. The group, named the Friends of St. Alphonsus (FOSA) then petitioned the Archdiocese of New Orleans to lease the building, which the Archdiocese agreed to.
The church is now used for a variety of programs including concerts, tours, art tours, and genealogical programs. And now, because of FOSA’s hard work, the church has been declared a National Historic Landmark.
When you visit New Orleans, St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center is a must-see. The history, art and architectural beauty found in its structure are unparalleled.