ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH

THE HISTORY:

This National Historic Landmark was completed in 1840 by architect James Gallier Sr.  In 1838, Rev. James Ignatius Mullon contracted with Dakin & Dakin architects to design a high-stle Gothic church imitating York Minster Cathedral.  During construction, an exterior wall began to lean. Perhaps due to this or a disagreement over the remedy, Dakin & Dakin were terminated and a new contract was signed with Gallier.  Gallier maintained Dakins' design, but simplified it's overall appearance.

THE PROJECT:

St. Patrick's was once threatened with closure and demolition due to damage from Hurricane Betsy, a dwindling congregation, and financial difficulties.  The restoration of St. Patrick's began under the energetic leadership of Monsignor John P. Reynolds, and was accomplished in phases, as funds become available. The initial work included exterior waterproofing, installation of a new roof, structural repairs, and new electrical services. The second phase included removal of fill-dirt installed under the church in 1896, which created a major termite problem by placing the soil in direct contact with the wood framing.  Once the dirt was removed, termite damage was assessed and repaired.  Lightning struck the church during this work, thus a lightning protection system was installed. The altars were renovated to more closely keep the Gothic style of the church prevalent.  Security and fire detection systems were installed, as well as new lighting and dimming systems.  All of the plaster was repaired and the stained glass was restored.  Finally, the restoration of the interior finishes was undertaken, including restoration of the trompe l'oeil, wood-graining, and gold leaf work. Some work done later, included the restoration of the church clock and bells, the addition of a handicapped accessible ramp and work in the Sexton's building. Koch and Wilson Architects continues to provide architectural services to the church.

 
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