Sacred Places and Other Buildings with Stained Glass
Click each link to learn more. Unless otherwise noted, all are in the New Orleans/Metairie Metro.
Metairie Cemetery & Lake Lawn Park Mausoleum (document, map, floor plans)
St. Peter Catholic Church, Reserve (document, floor plan)
Stained Glass Art in Sacred Places Tours
March 1989 — May 2018
Rattling around in school buses not designed for adult knees, the Stained Glass Art in Sacred Places group led friends of stained glass to about eight churches a year for almost thirty years. Some of our presentations were better than others, some of the religious sites or the windows were quite modest, but that was part of the adventure. And we did, mercifully, engage luxury coaches for our out-of-town trips.
Back in the days of the World’s Fair in New Orleans, the coordinators of volunteers for the Vatican Exhibit, Susan E. Levy and Blanche M. Comiskey, were chatting one day, admiring the art work on display. Susan commented, “You know, New Orleans too has spectacular religious art and stained glass windows.” From that innocent observation emerged these wonderful tours.
In all, we studied the windows in about 140 buildings. Many times tour goers confessed, “My parents (grandparents) were married here, yet I’ve never been inside before.” Or, “I’ve driven by this buildings hundreds of times, and now I get to see the inside.”
The following descriptions of individual places of worship are updated versions of the art notes that we distributed with each tour. For many sacred places, lengthier publications are available, and many are cited in the art notes. We apologize for the inevitable factual errors. A small number of general works on New Orleans churches are available now, and we look forward to the publication of many more.
Contributors to this project were many. The numerous volunteers are listed on a separate page. What a great group! Many were fountains of information about the legacy of religious institutions in and around the city. When we met to plan a tour, the itinerary created itself as if by magic.
The sacred places listed here graciously welcomed us, sometimes even providing presenters or snacks and much-appreciated water. Our presenters often went to sanctuaries many times to prepare for the tour, and the red carpet was always out. Thank you!
These outings would not have been possible without the sponsorship of the Preservation Resource Center. The PRC provided publicity and tolerated our occasional financial losses when attendance was low, as our goal mirrored that of the PRC: to share and protect our wonderful New Orleans heritage.
Thank you to the Places of Worship and the Preservation Resource Center many times over
— Patty Andrews, January 4, 2022
Stained Glass Art in Sacred Places
Committee Members and PRC Staff
Founders: Blanche Comiskey and Susan Levy
Mary Jo Day
Danielle Del Sol (PRC)
Arletta de Levee
Estelle de Verges
Barbara Del Do
Mary Fitzpatrick (PRC)
Patty Gay (PRC)
Scott Hutcheson (PRC)
Michelle Kimball (PRC)
Susan Langenhennig (PRC)
Averil Oberhelman (PRC)
Antique glass – Hand-rolled, mouth-blown glass that has the irregular texture of medieval glass; can be clear or colored.
Apse – A semicircular chancel, often projecting.
Art glass – Windows made predominately of opalescent glass in the American style.
Baroque – Stylistically similar to an art style in of 17th characterized by bold ornamentation, complex-ity, flamboyance, and irregular shapes.
Bull’s-eye glass – Crown glass that includes the mark where the glass blower’s metal rod was attached.
Came – Extruded lead strip with an H-shaped channel to hold individual pieces of glass in a stained-glass window.
Canopy – Glass framework within a window imitating an architectural niche and surrounding figures or a scene.
Cartoon – Full-size drawing for a stained-glass window; pattern for cutting the glass.
Cathedral glass – Commercial, machine-rolled stained glass; clear or colored.
Chancel – Part of a church reserved for the clergy and participants in the service; includes the altar. Sometimes the word “sanctuary” is restricted to this part of the church.
Chi rho – A sacred monogram composed of an intertwined X and P; first two letters of the Greek word Xpictoc, meaning Christ.
Choir – Part of the church in which choristers usually sit.
Clerestory – Upper part of the nave, transepts, and choir of a church containing windows.
Crackle glass – Antique glass with a crackled texture that is created in the cooling process.
Crown glass – The shape is made by blowing molten glass into the shape of a globe, then opening it up by spinning to form a flat disc.
Cylinder glass (Muff glass) – A form of hand-blown stained glass; made by cutting off the end of an elongated balloon of glass; the resulting cylinder is split along its length and opened to form a flattened sheet.
Dalle-de-verre – Pieces of glass, usually about an inch thick and often chipped; these are set into epoxy, epoxy resin, or concrete (Fr.: “glass slab or flagstone”). A modern technique, also called Faceted glass.
Diaper work – A surface decoration composed of small repeated patterns, often geometric figures, interconnected with continuous lines.
Dove – Symbol of the Holy Spirit.
Drapery glass – Opalescent glass formed into ridges to resemble drapery folds; created by Louis C. Tiffany.
East – The end of a church containing the altar, regardless of its compass orientation.
Enamel – Opaque vitreous color applied to glass; when fired, it changes to a transparent color; first used in late medieval Europe.
Favrile glass – Iridescent glass, patented by Tiffany in 1894; created by exposing hot glass to metallic fumes or oxides.
Fenestration – Arrangement of windows in a wall.
Firing – The process of heating painted glass so that paint fuses smoothly and securely.
Flashed glass – Made from layered glass of different colors. The artist etches or sandblasts away part of the outer layer to create a multi-toned, shaded design. Often used with red outside and yellow within.
Fleur de lis – Represents both the trinity and the lily, the symbol of virginity, purity, and the Virgin Mary. Also symbolizes the Annunciation.
Foil – Small arc opening in Gothic tracery; a prefix indicates the number of openings: trefoil, quatrefoil, or cinquefoil.
Four Evangelists and their symbols –
Mark: lion or winged lion
Luke: ox or winged ox
Glass paint – A mixture of finely ground glass, metallic oxides, and a liquid mixing agent (such as gum arabic). Once painted on glass, it is fired at 1200 to fuse it permanently to the glass; used in early medieval Europe. Also called Vitreous enamel.
Gothic – Architectural style developed in 12thB16th- century Europe; characteristics include slender piers and pointed arches and vaulting; advances in distributing building weight increased the space for windows.
Grisaille – Clear glass ornamented with delicate, often foliar, patterns of a single, muted color to produce a three-dimensional effect.
Jewel – Cast or faceted, polished nugget of glass inserted into windows for a decorative effect.
IHS or IHC – A sacred monogram from the Greek spelling of Jesus, Ihsoys or Ihcoyc.
Leaded glass – Small panes of glass held in place with lead strips (cames); the glass may be clear or stained.
Mullion – A slender vertical member that divides units of a window or door; can be purely decorative.
Narthex – Vestibule at the back of a church.
Nave – The long, narrow main part or central aisle of a church.
Nimbus – An indication of radiant light or glory about the head of a divinity; halo.
Opalescent glass – Glass developed by John LaFarge and Louis Tiffany in the late 19th century. Variegated streaks of color, when fused, have a milky, iridescent appearance. Variations in the glass can replace painting.
Oxides – Metallic oxides used to give molten glass its colors.
Reredos – An ornamental screen behind the altar.
Romanesque – Architectural predecessor to Gothic. Characterized by rounded (barrel) vaults, round-headed windows, & square bell towers with a low-pitched roof.
Rose window – Circular window with tracery radiating in petal-like shapes.
Saddle bar – A round horizontal bar connected to the outer wooden sash (frame) with copper tie wires to stabilize the window.
Sandwich glass. See Flashed glass
Silver stain – Silver compound, usually silver nitrate, that produces a yellow color when fused to glass through firing.
Support bars – Iron or aluminum bars set in the exterior frame of a window to add strength.
Saddle bars are lighter and serve the same function on the inside.
Tracery – Ornamental stonework with branching lines, especially in the upper part of a Gothic-style window. In modern times the tracery is sometimes painted on the glass itself.
Transept – The part of a cruciform church that crosses the long axis between the nave and the chancel.
Jeanie A. Attenhofer, personal communication.
Census of Stained-glass Windows in America. Conservation and Restoration of Stained Glass: An Owner’s Guide 1988.
Post, W. Ellwood. Saints, Signs, and Symbols. 2d ed. Wilton, CT: Morehouse-Barlow Co., 1974.
Tutag, Nola Huse. Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987.