Story and Photos By Christine Bordelon, Originally published by the Clarion Herald
(Re-posted with permission)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, sitting on the French Quarter’s edge, is a welcoming beacon for locals of all races, abilities and life circumstances and for tourists alike.
It has been this way since its beginnings in 1826 as a mortuary chapel and burial church (considered outside the main city of New Orleans) for those who died from yellow fever.
Oblate Father Tony Rigoli, pastor since 2005, said beloved St. Louis Cathedral rector Capuchin Father Antonio de Sedella (Pere Antoine) helped with funerals from the beginning, and the church also was used as an army sanctuary during the Civil War.
Diocesan priests, Jesuits and the Dominicans who came in 1903 and relocated to Canal Street and with it the parish name of St. Anthony of Padua – have pastored here. The parish is also known as St. Jude’s, in honor of the patroness of desperate cases or lost causes.
Father Rigoli’s order – the Oblates of Mary Immaculate – were called by New Orleans Archbishop John W. Shaw in 1918 to take over operation of St. Louis Cathedral and its mission church, Our Lady of Guadalupe. It also is the official chapel of the New Orleans police and fire departments.