Squandered Heritage Vintage

David Gregor Photos

Destruction of The Church

Cabrini Destruction of Stained Glass

Destruction of The Church

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
About Karen Gadbois

Karen Gadbois co-founded The Lens. She now covers New Orleans government issues and writes about land use. With television reporter Lee Zurik she exposed widespread misuse of city recovery funds and led to guilty pleas in federal court. Her work attracted some of journalism's highest honors, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors. She can be reached at (504) 606-6013.

  • randall fox

    My opinion on this church has changed a ton. Until today I thought that holy cross should be able to demolish it. Sorry Karen and Laureen for not telling yall about my opinion but until today I thought it would be okay if the building was demolished. I drove by there and realized that holy cross has a huge amount of land. They have twice the as much land on that campus than all of Jesuits property in mid city. after I drove by there i went onto mapquest and put my thumb over an aerial photo of the church just too see what it would bee like if Holy Cross did not build any of their campus on that site and they sill have a huge amount of land to build on. By the way the church is huge in person it looks much larger than the squandered heritage photo of it this church is huge and it is also such a magnificent building i did not realize how beautiful it was. The squandered heritage photo does not make it look as nice as it really is. There is something else i did not think about today until my dad told me. If Holy Cross is a catholic school dont they need a church. Jesuit has a beautiful church and Saint Francis would be a beautiful church for holy cross to use. Its amazing why holy cross wants to tear it down.

  • Laureen

    Randall, you rule ! Thanks for your many candid observations here. You inspire us and make us cheer out loud !

  • Laureen

    I was feeling the same way until I looked at the engineering. Then I saw the pictures of the inside and learned that the alter and stained glass were imported and Steve Verderber, from Tulane, learned that one of the engineers was one of the engineers on the World Trade Center in New York. This building is also important to our local modern archtitectural legacy, something one must have a sound understanding of architecture to realize. These architects designed the Rivergate, and Superdome and I realized that there is something brilliant in their design. The roofs in particular.

    The talent exhibited in these buildings is unique, we knew this was something we had a responsibility to get behind. For the impact it’s loss will have in the future. We don’t quite see the full value of this building yet. It is a rare opportunity to argue over a building where the designers are still able to be part of the debate. Besides the beauty of the sacredness of this space, it really would be an engineering/design squander to tear it down.
    Now that they have tore out some of the interiors and I don’t know what it looks like. Karen and I went every day for a week to try to get current photos but they wouldn’t let us in.

  • Randall, It is interesting that even though you thought the Church should be demolished you went to see it. There is something about it when you get up close, it is like the Martians have landed.

    Also it is one thing to think about Architecture and then another to think about Engineering. Seems that there is not enough attention paid to celebrating Engineering feats. Cabrini is one of them we should at least be documenting as it comes down.

  • Sherry LeBlanc

    I attended the school and as a child worked with my classmates to help pay for the spire above the church. St. Frances has been a landmark for a long time – I attended Mass in the old church before it burned. The church was a source of great pride for the parish members. A beautiful building. Don’t let them do it!!! Surely Msg. Gerald Frey (if still living) can help. There was also Father Rippollo (spelling is probably wrong). My first thought was “that’s right, kick ’em when they’re down”! I believe the windows came from France. The altar is/was from Carrara, Italy. A great deal of HARD WORK went into the construction of the church. Time passes and details are lost but please don’t let them do it. Fight them in the courts.

  • Charles

    I know my comments will be controversial, but I just wanted to publish them from a qualified point of view. I am a life long parishioner of St. Frances Cabrini Church. My parents were married in the church. My brothers and I attended Cabrini School and receieved all of our sacraments there. I was an altar boy and later sacristan of the church. We were always very involved with the parish. I grew up hearing of the stories of the significance of the concrete arches of the church being reminiscent of the original quonset hut church. I was always amazed at how the altar was shipped on a barge from Cararra, Italy and even installed before the building was complete. I could go on and on. The church did have its faults, though. The massive metal doors were installed originally on wood frames which were beginning to rot. The enormous air conditioning system was always having problems and was very costly to repair. The roof, being so irregular, had to be contantly redone. It was always a hardship to even keep the building in working condition, let alone serve its parishioners. Having said all of this, I am sad to see it go. I now realize that I won’t be able to share this part of my life with anyone who comes after its demolition. But this is not a reason to preserve this church. Even though many many awesome memories were made in and around this Gentilly block, for myself and I’m sure many others, I do believe that it is time for those buildings to be demolished in preparation Holy Cross School.

  • Apollinaire’s Friends

    Bravo Charles! Well said. I think YOU rule.