Information obtained from the book, “Story of The Building of a Parish Church, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, New Orleans, With Descriptions of Statuary, Windows, Apsidal Decoration”
by Bishop Louis Abel Caillouet, Former Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans.
By Authentic Act before Felix Joseph Puig, Notary Public, dated April 11, 1905, Mrs. Sylvanie Blanc, widow of James D. Denegre, donated to The Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of New Orleans, her residence and property which extended from Esplanade Street to Bayou St. John. The donation was accepted for The Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of New Orleans by Archbishop Placide Louis Chapelle.
The Act of Donation states that Mrs. Denegre was making this donation: …
“In pursuance of the cherished wish of her mother, the late Mrs. Marie Fannie
Labatut Blanc, widow of Evariste Blanc, who desired that the property…should
Become the site of a Parish Church for the purpose of providing the residents in
the neighborhood of Bayou St. John and Esplanade Street with a Parish Church.”
By way of reiterating the purpose intended by the donor’s mother, there is set forth the express condition that there shall be erected on the property, and perpetually maintained, Parish Church. The text continues:
“and necessary accessories and dependencies, such as parsonage, school, or other
purposes connected with a Parish Church, and shall remain forever dedicated to such
use and no other; and upon the further condition that one mass shall be forever
celebrated in said Church during each and every month after the same shall have been
constructed, viz, six of said masses to be for the living and six for the dead members of
said donor’s family, and an additional mass for herself, the donor, annually on the
eleventh day of April, the anniversary of this donation, and upon the further condition
that said contemplated Parish Church shall be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and called
the Church of “SAINTE MARIE DU ROSAIRE.’”…
Reverend William J. Vincent was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary on
October 19, 1907. On December 25, 1907, the first Mass held at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was said by Archbishop James Hubert Blenk. On January 1, 1908, Father Vincent offered the first Mass in the new frame church.
In September 1908, a parish school was opened. As there was no school building available, much of the space in the Rectory was used for classrooms. School growth led to the construction of a two-story frame building in 1913.
On April 19, 1910, the Congregation of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of the Roman Catholic Church was incorporated. On July 31, 1913, Archbishop James H. Blenk transferred title to the property until then held in the name of the diocesan corporation, to the parish corporation.
On October 24, 1922, Very Reverend Canon Racine wrote Archbishop Shaw that the building committee had examined and approved the revised plans for the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Archbishop Shaw granted Father Vincent authorization to proceed with the building of the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
Within 12 months, from March 1924 to March 1925, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church was practically completed exteriorly from groundbreaking to the cross surmounting the dome. Interior finishing, including furnishings, took longer. The highly ornate marble altar was ready and installed for the dedication of the new church by Archbishop Shaw on November 22, 1925. It was a gift of Captain John L. Vincent, father of Pastor William J. Vincent. The altar was consecrated December 6, 1925, by Bishop Jeanmard of Lafayette.
A list of furnishings dated December 27, 1926, includes all of the statues, the Calvary Group, the Communion railing, the baptismal font and gold baptismal shell, the holy water fonts, the onyx, gold-plated Paschal Candlestick, and all of the similar candlesticks for the main altar and two side altars, the new chalice, ciborium, monstrance, and some smaller items. The mosaic Stations of the Cross are mentioned as “now being ordered”.
The 2000 pound bell donated by Mrs. Denegre was raised to its permanent location in the brick campanile forming the right rear corner of the church edifice on April 19, 1912. The new organ was installed in 1929. The pulpit, carved from a single block of white marble resting on a separate marble base, was under contract in 1929. The Main Altar was consecrated
December 6, 1925, and, December 6, 1969, was chosen by Bishop Caillouet for the consecration of the altar facing the people.