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Old Ursuline Convent, New Orleans

Categories: Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.2/5 based on 140+ reviews on the web
Ursuline Convent was a series of historic Ursuline convents in New Orleans, Louisiana.The first buildingThe first building for the Ursuline nuns in New Orleans was designed by Ignace Fran├žois Broutin in 1727 when the nuns arrived in New Orleans. Michael Zeringue was the builder. Planning, collecting material, and construction took years. Existing drawings show the building in 1733, although it was not officially finished until the following year.Colombage (half-timbered) or briquette-entre-poteaux (brick-between-post) was the major form of French Colonial construction in the colony during the 18th century (see also Pitot House). Usually the exterior walls were then given a protective covering of stucco or wooden boards; but the fact that the timbered walls of the Ursuline Convent were left exposed is confirmed by a drawing from 1737. Such construction proved to be inappropriate for the humid climate of New Orleans (with significant deterioration already apparent by 1745), in addition to being a fire hazard.The historic second buildingIn 1745 plans for a new building of brick and protected colombage were prepared by Ignace Broutin. The contractor was Claude Joseph Villars Dubreuil, Contractor of Public Works for the King. His wife, Marie Payen de Noyan, was Bienville's sister. This structure was completed in 1751. It is likely that Alexandre de Batz also took part in the design because several payments are listed to him for work on the new building. The new building was laid out adjacent to the site of the older structure, and some materials from the older building were used in the construction of the newer one.
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  • We attempted to visit it inside but only managed to do it from outside as there was a note saying the place is closed under November. Apparently they have a 500 years old Nurnberg bible which I would ...  read more »
  • The literature and tour were very informative and interesting. St Mary Church inside the convent was absolutely breathtaking. It was like stepping into the past! So glad I did the tour. 
  • The oldest building in New Orleans and the adjacent Chapel was a real surprise and a highlight of our trip! Knowledgeable volunteer docents showed real pride in the building and its history. The museu...  read more »
  • Beautiful old building. Very peaceful and soothing inside the chapel. Lovely old statues and gorgeous winding staircase ornately detailed. Lots of historical information on the convent in various rooms. Curious attic with the shutters nailed shut.... Vampire folklore.... Not part of the tour but very creepy to look at from the outside nonetheless. Would definitely recommend to others. 8.00 per person.... Absolutely worth it.
  • We came upon the convent quite unexpectedly while walking around one afternoon. What a lovely surprise when we stepped through the gate to the inner courtyard! The birds were singing and it was surprisingly beautiful and peaceful. The chapel was stunning in it's beauty! Comparable to churches in Italy. What a wonderful find this is. I would highly recommend it to anyone seeking a respite from the city!
  • Oldest building in the city. Peaceful self guided tour
  • 8 dollars per person. Friendly staffs and impressive interiors and nice view from the garden. Very cool inside.
  • While it was closed on the day we tried to tour, I heard the history of the convent on a paranormal tour and found that this convent has folklore ties to stories of vampires. And a mysterious attic, with blessed silver nails hold the shutters of the attic Windows shut.
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