October 15, 2010
Splendors of Faith: New Orleans Catholic Churches, 1727-1930
By Br. Benet S. Exton *

By Br. Benet S. Exton *

Book written by: Nolan, Charles E.
Photographs by: Frank J. Methe

Baton Rouge, La. : Louisiana State University Press, 2010.  134 pages.  Hardback.  ISBN 9778-0-8071-3682-9.  $39.95.

The word “beautiful” is the only way to describe the awe-inspiring photos in this book.

The author of the text, Charles Nolan, is the retired archivist of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and a retired adjunct professor of historical and pastoral theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.  The photographer, Frank J. Methe, is the photo editor of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ newspaper the Clarion Herald. Together they created a book showcasing a collection of the interiors of 13 churches in the city of New Orleans.

Some of the churches featured are:  St. Louis Cathedral-Basilica, St. Mary’s Assumption (which houses the body and shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos), Mater Dolorosa, and St. Peter Claver among others.

At the beginning of each chapter, the author lists the name of the parish and a photo of the exterior of the church. This is followed by a description of the parish and the church as well as some color photos of the interior of the church. 

The photos include all types of art and architecture, including: marble and carved wooden altars, ambos, presider’s chairs, candlesticks, colorful plaster, a plentitude of wooden statues of various saints, colorful stained glass windows, frescos, mosaics, and other forms of art showing images of saints and symbols that are special to the Church.

A short bibliography and a map of New Orleans shows where the 13 historic churches featured in this book are located, so that you can discover them for yourself. The book also lists all of the Catholic churches that have been in New Orleans with their date of founding and whether they are open or closed today. 

This book is highly recommended to those interested in the beautiful art and architecture of churches and historical buildings in New Orleans. C'est magnifique! 

Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.

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