Anchoring Jackson Square in the heart of New Orleans, the Spanish Colonial facade of the St. Louis Cathedral is one of the city’s greatest landmarks. Built in the 18th century, this the oldest cathedral in the United States, and it’s still the third church to stand on this site. The first structure went up in 1718 and rebuilt in 1727, only to be lost to the Great New Orleans Fire in 1788. The present structure started construction the following year, but most of what we see today owes to an 1850 expansion.
The third time would seem to be the charm. After so many reconstructions and expansions, the St. Louis Cathedral has been through hell and high water and stays standing. Among its trials have been a dynamite bomb in 1909 and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
Haunted house of God
Parishioners and tourists sometimes claim that the church is haunted by the ghost of Fr. Antonio de Sedella, or Pere Antoine, a former priest buried inside the cathedral. He is said to wander a nearby alley in the early morning and appear by the altar holding a candle during Christmas Midnight Mass.