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Old Ursuline Convent, New Orleans

4.2
#17 of 30 in Historic Sites in New Orleans
Religious Site Historic Site
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 François 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
184 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Very impressive this convent, one of the oldest in Louisiana, if I remember correctly, with an atmosphere of other times not easy to find in the States
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  • A peaceful chapel beautifully decorated with history throughout the rest of the convents building - the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley (1752). The role of the Nuns in helping Gen.Andrew Jac...  more »
  • If you enjoy old buildings, architecture, and history, you'll really enjoy this. The building and it's history are fascinating. You can also walk around the grounds out in back of the building. A snap...  more »
Google
  • Been wanting to see this for years now, so we took some time to do the self guided tour. There is a lot of history involving the religious orders of sisters doing good works for the city. The tour includes the attached church of st.mary which is very beautiful. This is well worth the visit.
  • Fascinating history; engaged tour guides. Totally reasonable price for this beautiful landmark.
  • Lovely old historic convent and church. Be sure to check out the back garden area too!
  • 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!

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Though you can walk to most tourist attractions in New Orleans from a hotel in the central business district, remember that many other parts of town feature less expensive and equally comfortable accommodations. Smaller hotels and private guesthouses in quiet residential neighborhoods offer not only good local food and spacious rooms, but can also allow you to explore the city's culture away from overwhelming tourist crowds. To reduce your carbon footprint during your stay, consider one of French Quarter's many green or eco-friendly hotels.
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