St. Michael's Church Historic District - Convent, LA
N 30° 00.617 W 090° 49.650
15R E 709536 N 3321911
Quick Description: Stunning Late Victorian Catholic Church. Proper name is "St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church" Located at 6484 Hwy 44 (River Road), Convent.
Location: Louisiana, United States
Date Posted: 10/1/2008 7:00:48 PM
Waymark Code: WM4VHN
Awesome stunning brick church. The details in the brick work is really amazing. To think humans made this without computers or scaffolds as we know them.
The National Register web site aslo says "Also known as See Also:St. Joseph's School". That site is located in Ascension Parish. I've added the photo for the Louisiana Historical plaque to this page, as I will this marker to the page for that National Historical page.
The Distric included the Church, cemetery, Rectory and school house on grounds and other buildings on site I did not photograph.
Brief History taken from St. Michael
The St. Michael's Church Historic District contains a number of examples of local building
types which collectively have an impressive presence along the River Road. More important,
however, are the buildings themselves as individual works of architecture.
The church is a large and handsome Victorian Church. It stands as a harmonious example
of the grandiose blend of Romanesque and Gothic which typified the larger Roman Catholic
churches in the later 19th century.
The rectory is a large and handsome example of a late Greek Revival residence, showing
the Greek Revival just at the period when the first hesitant touches of the Renaissance Revival
began to be applied. Finally, the Welham tomb, in the cemetery, is a fine example of a cast-iron
tomb, an unusual type of tomb in Louisiana.
The first St. Michael's Church was built in 1809 about a mile from the present one. In the
mid-1820's the church began to acquire the land which makes up the present district, and in 1827,
the present cemetery was begun. In 1831, collection of funds to build a new church was started, and
by 1833 the building which was later altered to produce the present church building was completed.
The building cost $19,445 and was built under the pastorate of Father Charles de la Croix, who
directed the project. In the 1870's the church was enlarged and it basically attained its present
appearance at this time. Two sacristies were added, along with the Lourdes Grotto to the rear of the
church. In addition, a steeple was added, but it was blown down in 1965 by Hurricane Betsy.
The adjacent rectory was constructed in 1875. The cottage next to the church, which dates
from the middle to late nineteenth century, was until 1975 the home of the nuns who taught at St.
Joseph's and St. Michael's schools, both of which are also a part of the district. The small school
building is the old St. Joseph's School for Negroes, which originally occupied a different site. The
school began in 1867 and operated until the coming of integration to the parish in the late 1960's.
The building, which dates from the middle to late nineteenth century, was moved to the church
grounds in 1932 and continued to function as a Negro Catholic school. It may be the same buildingin which the school was inaugurated in 1867.
The large school building is the old St. Michael's School for white children, which operated
from 1940 to about 1966. From 1966 to 1971 it was an integrated Catholic school. The cottage
behind the church, which dates from the middle to later nineteenth century, is the old kitchen of St.