The year was 1774.
Friar Antonio de Sedella was sent to the territory of Louisiana by Spain’s King Charles III to continue the work of converting heathens to Christians through a little process called an ‘Inquisition’.
Friar Sedella didn’t much like the King or forcing people to convert by having their legs crushed. He preferred to preside over un-lawful unions between people of high and low color, baptize their children, and advocate for imprisoned slaves.
The people of New Orleans loved him, and gave him their loyalty, and a few coins.
Fast forward to 1800- the French have New Orleans back.
A Bishop Shea (who administered for Rome from Catholic Havana) wanted the Abbe to gather more wealth from the parish.
Friar Sedalla (now known as Pere Antoine) said, ‘Go to Hell’.
Bishop Shea responded by tattling to the American government that Pere Antoine had a lover and a child (probably false- just look at his portrait).
James Monroe wanted confirmation but was actually too busy administering the purchase of 828,000 miles of land at 42 cents per acre from the French to do more than ask what the priest’s religion was? Pere Antoine replied, ‘Liberty and Charity’. Good enough for the new government (but just to make sure, Monroe had an Oath of Allegiance administered via correspondence).
Pere Antoine was more than happy to accommodate- after all, when he died in 1829, he left a small bag of gold coins to St. Louis Cathedral, with the instructions that his parishioners have a feast in his honor.
|Fresh-caught Trout Almondine
with new potatoes and green beans
and a side of eggplant mash.
|741 Royal St.
Whimsical murals line the walls adding a great jazz vibe.
|The Abbe himself.|