Tricentennial Thursday: New Orleans makes history: A Popemobile on Decatur Street

Pope John Paul II made a three-day visit to New Orleans, Sept. 11-13, 1987, marking the only time New Orleans has received a papal visit. The pope left St. Louis Cathedral to travel down Decatur Street with Archbishop Philip Hannan for a youth rally at the Superdome.Pope John Paul II celebrated the Eucharist at an outdoor altar erected on the campus of the University of New Orleans. A heavy downpour blew through the lakefront in the hour before the pope’s arrival, stopping when he arrived in the Popemobile. A survey taken a year after his 1987 visit indicated wide spiritual benefits. 


Pope John Paul II never forgot the personal touch, shaking hands with the police officers who were part of his security detail at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.




Sainted memories, and more to come; St. John Paul II statue graces front entrance of St. Louis Cathedral 


Sculptor Franco Alessandrini, a native of Italy who has lived in New Orleans  for the last 50 years, stands  next to his Carrara marble statue of St. John Paul II before it was blessed by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Nov. 15.  The statue is a gift of the American Italian Renaissance Foundation to the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the archdiocese is in turn offering it as a gift to the City of New Orleans for its tricentennial celebration in honor of the 1987 papal visit by Pope John Paul II. The statue will be placed near the front doors of St. Louis Cathedral so that it is visible 24 hours a day by visitors to the city. The American Italian Renaissance Foundation is accepting tax-deductible contributions for the statue project.  For more information, go to  Alessandrini also has sculpted the Monument to the Immigrants in Woldenberg Park on the Mississippi River and statues of religious figures for the Old Ursuline Convent.



Click here to view the Clarion Herald flipbook, “River of Faith: 300 Years as a New Orleans Catholic Community – 1718-2018”

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