The city of New Orleans offers many ways for the devoted to practice in their faith, including the opportunity to climb the steps of a unique two-story shrine in Treme.
The massive gate-enclosed shrine was built over 100 years ago and, due to its magnificent stature, has been a focal point for devotion since. The shrine fits into the wider historical context of the Catholic practice of replicating shrines: this one is meant to be a replica of the grotto at Lourdes in France, which was is said to have healing powers. The hallmark is a crucifix on the second story that appears to be perched on top of a mountain.
As with many places, meaning derived from a site is a personal experience. Visitors to the site can enjoy a meditative walk around the grounds, visit for Sunday mass, or ascend up the shrine steps on their knees for special intentions.
Since the early 1990s, the shrine has been maintained by local caretakers, making it truly part of the fabric of the neighborhood. For 10 years, it was independently taken care of by Emily Ricard O’Brien, between 1995 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2021, the shrine underwent a renovation to repair damage caused by a century of water and termite damage. Volunteers repainted the exterior of the grotto, replaced the 15-foot cross, and repaired the life-sized statue of Jesus that hangs on it.
Know Before You Go
The shrine is open three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.