The Archive Room at St. Augustine, housed in the church's
includes discoveries from the University of New Orleans archeological
dig in the
Treme Neighborhood as
well as many other artifacts
from church and city history.
Father Etienne Rousselon, the first pastor of St. Augustine Church in
1842, and the next seven or eight pastors after him did a lot of walking,
especially while making sick calls and other pastoral visits to their parishioners.
For the more distant sick calls, they resorted to horseback transportation.
This posed a bit of a problem since
the most available land for holding horses and allowing them to graze
was the school yard playground for the girls of Mount Carmel Elementary
and High School, known by everyone as “Mount
Carmel Convent.” And it was all too obvious that horses and girls
at play do not mix very well.
Therefore, Father Joseph Subileau, the sixth pastor of St. Augustine Church,
decided to build a livery in 1912. For this, he selected a space in the
west-southwest corner of the rectory patio. As a natural complement to
the livery, he had a sizeable horse watering trough built near the west-northwest
corner of the rectory patio.
Thus, anytime Father Subileau had to get somewhere fast or travel some
distance, he had only to walk across his patio, saddle his horse, mount
and be on his way to his appointment. This mode of transportation did not
change until well into the 1920s when the automobile became more affordable
and more practical.
For the next 65 years or so, the picturesque stable suffered the ignoble
fate of becoming a general junk room and a wash room for soiled clothes.
Meanwhile, the horse watering trough became a fish pond.
Dr. Joyce Jackson, Ph.D., professor at LSU in Baton Rouge, changed all
that in January 2005 by recommending St. Augustine Church to Divine Restoration,
a television design/documentary show which aims to improve the lives of
church congregations across North America.
In short order, following the seminal idea of Drex Brumfield and the pastor,
we at St. Augustine Church chose our archives as the project for Divine
Restoration to pursue. The television film show schooled us and organized
us to clean out the old livery and to rough in things like electrical connections.
A frenetic 48 hours of work transformed the livery into an operational,
though far from complete, archives. Over time, we plan to add numerous
artifacts, as well as digitized documents, library files, photos and computer
workstation for accessing our collection.
A stained glass window of St. Augustine is a centerpiece of the Archive
Annunciation Convent suffered through several years of vacancy before
it was razed in 1985. It happened that an auctioneer for the saleable
items of the convent came to Sunday Mass at St. Augustine Church. After
the Mass, the lady asked then pastor Father Michael Fritzen, S.V.D. where
his stained glass window of St. Augustine was.
“We don’t have a stained glass window of St. Augustine,” he
told her. “Well”, she said, “we are razing Annunciation
Convent, and I am in charge of auctioning off the stained glass windows.
We have a stained glass window of St. Augustine. We will let you have
it until we return and ask for it.”
Excited beyond measure, Father Fritzen had the stained glass window
mounted on a wooden frame wired for a couple of fluorescent lights to
bring out the brilliant colors.
It would seem that the good lady
used “until we ask for it” as
a genteel way of saying that Annunciation Church was donating the stained
glass window to St. Augustine Church. For no one has ever returned to
reclaim the window.
The stained glass window depicts a well-loved story about St. Augustine:
The scene is the seashore, where
there is a small pool, a little boy with a seashell, and a sandy beach
on which St. Augustine, clad in his episcopal robes, is walking, pondering
with difficulty the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. “Father, Son, Holy Spirit; three in one!” he
muttered, shaking his head.
As he approached the little boy
who was running back and forth between the sea and the pool with a
seashell of water, Augustine craned his neck and asked him: “Son,
what are you doing?”
“Can’t you see?” said the boy. “I’m
emptying the sea into this pool!”
“Son, you can’t do that!” Augustine countered. “I
will sooner empty the sea into this pool than you will manage to get
the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity into your head!”
Upon saying that, the boy, who was an angel according to legend, quickly
disappeared, leaving Augustine alone with the mystery of the Most Holy
1210 Gov. Nicholls St., N.O., LA 70116, (504)525-5934, Fax 523-2473.
Sunday Mass 10:00AM.