Sunday, November 12, 2006
St Peter Claver Catholic Church
So next we got on a schoolbus - yes, one of those American yellow school buses. I think I was a little over enthusiastic about it as it was my first time ever being on one!! We were then driven (whilst trying to ascertain the score for the Saints game that was playing at the time) to Treme. It is a black neighbourhood of New Orleans - if you click on it you'll get more info from wikipedia.
The houses were gorgeous and we were diverted by a different street because of what we thought could very well be a small parade (its started already). The church is very modest looking from the outside and doesn't give anything away as to the treasures that lie inside its walls.
On walking into the building I was overcome with a feeling of calm serenity and warmth even though the walls were somewhere between white and cream. The wood is beautiful and so too the glow from the colourful stained glass windows.
I was thrilled to discover that all statues of Jesus, Mary and the christ child were depicted as african and carved lovingly out of wood. From the notes we were given, these carvings are from Nigeria.
There were also wooden carvings, which were like totem poles, of important black figures in history and the community - the souzaphone player was my favourite!!
The large painting of Christ was also quite hypnotic.
The stained glass windows date from various times but a New Orleans artist, Ruth Goliwas, was commissioned to creat a window to commemorate Hurricane Katrina. This church had five feet of water and had to be restored after the storm. The carpet was replaced with tile - which looks perfect.
This church is a work of love from their congregation. It was begun as a church with no windows, no door, 154 years ago and now is a beautiful gem in the community.
The only thing I didn't like was that they have a running fountain beside the altar - it made me want to pee - I don't know how people get through services without running to the bathroom!!