This story appeared in the February issue of the PRC’s Preservation in Print magazine. Interested in getting more preservation stories like this delivered to your door monthly? Become a member of the PRC for a subscription!
Buddy Bolden House • St. Srancis de Sales Church • United Fruit Building
For more than 150 years, the stately St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church has stood tall on the corner of Second Street and Loyola Avenue in Central City. Built in 1867, just two years after the Civil War, it served as a church parish until 2008, when it was sold by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and deconsecrated. The wooden church building remained vacant for nine years, until developer Peter Gardner purchased it in 2017 and commenced an extensive restoration of the property, saving as much of the historic architectural elements as possible. The former sanctuary is now an elegant church and events space, and the adjacent convent and rectory, built in the 1890s, are now apartments. The renovation wrapped up late last year, and the former church recently opened for private events and is looking for a permanent religious tenant. The sanctuary’s 5,000-square-foot interior has a 40-foot domed ceiling and restored original cypress and pine columns, floors and altar area, as well as a 1,200-square-foot choir loft. Next to the church is a historic stone grotto that was built of stone ballast from ships that once plied the Mississippi River. While the original religious elements have been removed, the space still has a sacred feel. The church has been renamed Livaudais Hall in honor of the Faubourg Livaudais neighborhood in Central City.
Susan Langenhennig is PRC’s Director of Communications and the editor of Preservation in Print.