For more than a decade, local Catholics have lent their most beloved creches for display inside 19th-century St. Alphonsus Church during the first week of Advent. This year’s display, unveiled Dec. 2, touts 76 creches of all sizes and designs, and includes Nativity scenes from countries including Germany, Russia, Thailand, Zambia and Israel.
A Brazilian creche carved out of solid jacaranda wood and belonging to Cornelia Whitlow graces the sanctuary of St. Alphonsus Church in New Orleans.
New to the exhibit this year is a Cajun Nativity scene, left, created by Lafayette artist Lorraine Gendron. The set, owned by Linda and Pete Ibert, features Baby Jesus in a pirogue, a shrimp boot-wearing St. Joseph and Wise Men in the roles of “chef,” “Jazz musician” and “American Indian.” The scene’s “shepherd” is a hunter with a hog and a dog, while its “barnyard animals” include alligators, a turtle and a fox. A pelican watches over the foot of Jesus’ crib.
At right, Christ’s birth plays out underneath St. Alphonsus Church’s statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The many Nativity sets were displayed in the sanctuary and also spilled along the side aisles, above. The exhibit, at 2045 Constance St., is open daily through Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and on Dec. 9 from noon to 4 p.m. The length of the exhibit is limited because most of the privately owned creches are integral parts of the Advent and Christmas displays of their respective owners. Admission to the exhibit, sponsored by the Friends of St. Alphonsus, is complimentary, but donations are welcomed. For more information, call Blanche Comiskey at 482-0008 or Linda Ibert at 524-8116.