Old Ursuline Convent

- 1100 Chartres St. NOLA -

Interested in setting up a group tour at the Old Ursuline Convent?

Contact Rosalie Serio at 504-529-3040 ext. 223

Archbishop Hannan Exhibit iPad Applications Now Available Online





Exhibit to offer interactive experiences and educational opportunities for people of all ages

NEW ORLEANS, La.– In 1965, Archbishop Philip Hannan arrived in a Hurricane Betsy devastated New Orleans.  Where many may have seen hopeless despair, Archbishop Hannan saw hopeful opportunity.  He immediately went to work rebuilding the Catholic Church and creating a network of social services  ministering to the most vulnerable in the community.  While his personality endeared him to presidents, heads of state and celebrities, it was his spirit of charity that endeared him to the people of New Orleans and beyond.

To honor the legacy of the late archbishop, the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center will host a special exhibit titled,The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots: the Life & Ministry of Archbishop Philip Hannanat the Old Ursuline Convent Museum from October 5, 2013 through Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.

 “Archbishop Hannan was an example of a priest who truly lived his vocation with a love for all and in service to those most in need,” said New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond. “I am very pleased that we are able to honor his memory and his extraordinary contributions to the City of New Orleans with this special exhibition about his life.”

Along with his personal belongings and photographs,The Archbishop Wore Combat Bootswill be the first exhibition at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum to offer an electronic interactive experience for visitors.  Several iPads will feature a selection of Archbishop Hannan’s personal letters and his military chaplain guide complete with handwritten notes for visitors to “flip-through”. Several large television monitors will be looping video of the archbishop, including footage of Archbishop Hannan delivering the complete eulogy at President Kennedy’s funeral.  On display with the video of the archbishop delivering the Kennedy eulogy will be the archbishop’s original typed document with his handwritten notes and comments noting changes he would make in its delivery.

 “This exhibition will offer something for everyone,” said Catholic Cultural Heritage Center Board President Barbara Turner Windhorst. “Of course if you are Catholic, it will be of special interest to you, but the exhibition will be for those with a love of history and a love for art as well.  There will even be educational components to engage students and our schools.  As Archbishop Hannan was a bishop for the people, so is this exhibit.”

Other notable and exciting features of the exhibition will include:

  • Lifesize murals of photographs depicting the archbishop’s military service in Europe during World War II and his extensive ministry in New Orleans,
  • A bejeweled and engraved chalice given personally to the archbishop as a gift from Father Leo J. Kinsella of Chicago,
  • Never-before displayed photographs from Archbishop Hannan’s personal collection of his childhood and early family-life,
  • Archbishop Hannan’s complete military “Mass kit” on display as it would be used in the field,
  • Personal photos and memorabilia from Blessed John Paul II’s historic 1987 visit to New Orleans; a visit that was the result of a personal invitation to the late pontiff from Archbishop Hannan,
  • Priestly vestments used by the archbishop throughout his ministry including an over 100 year-old silk-embroidered miter gifted to the archbishop from close Hannan family friend Bishop Turner of the Diocese of Buffalo, and
  • Of course, the archbishop’s combat boots and military uniform.

Once again, the exhibition will be hosted at the Old Ursuline Convent Museum from October 5, 2013 to May 26, 2014.  General admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $5 for students.

The mission of the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center is to contribute support of a vibrant spiritual life within the New Orleans Catholic and wider community by recognizing and displaying the contributions of our multicultural and multiethnic past.  


The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. Constructed by French Colonial Engineers under the auspices of the crown, the convent was designed in 1745 and completed in 1752-1753. Over the centuries, this building has been a convent for the Ursuline nuns, a school, an archbishop's residence, the archdiocesan central office, a meeting place for the Louisiana Legislature. Later, it served as a residence for priests serving mainly the Italian community and then housed the Archdiocesan Archives. Today, together with the St. Louis Cathedral and St. Mary's Church, it forms the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.


The Old Ursuline Convent’s facade is simple, with twelve bays, two floors and an attic level made of three dormers. The structure uses brick-between-post construction covered by a white plaster, simulating stone on the corners and central bay. The doors and windows use simple molding while a pediment underscores the main entrance. Having many doors and windows available and across from each other is a feature that was developed specifically for this climate as a way to battle the oppressive heat and humidity. Placing the doors and windows parallel creates a cross ventilation, forcing warm interior air out and cool outside air in.

According to the National Parks Service, “This is the finest surviving example of French Colonial public architecture in the country, Louis XV in style, formal and symmetrical, with restrained ornament. It was constructed between 1748 and 1752 for nuns whose mission was to nurse the poor and teach young girls”. (October 9, 1960, designation of the convent as a National Historic Landmark)

Hours and Visitor Information

The museum is opened for self-guided tours Monday through Saturday, 10am-4pm. For large group tours, please contact Rae Jean Carroll  at 504-525-9585 x135

1100 Chartres Street (at the corner of Chartres and Ursulines) in the Historic French Quarter

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