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History of St. Rose de Lima Church Complex - Part II

Updated: Oct 28, 2018

Excerpted from St Rose de Lima: An Adaptive Use Review by Lisa Lynde

In 1870, having outgrown the original small wooden church, plans were organized to construct a larger church building on the site. The second church was a larger wood frame structure and served St Rose de Lima for over thirty years. On October 24,1913, the second church building burned to the ground along with the small original structure. The Archdiocese hired the firm Andry and Feitel to design the new church. Less than two years later the third building was constructed. In the following years two additional buildings were added to the St Rose de Lima parish: a three-story brick school building (1925) and a single-story wood-frame building with a basement (1938). Both buildings were also designed by the firm Andry and Feitel.

The school ran continuously until 1978, when it was shuttered by the Archdiocese. The Orleans Parish School Board then rented the school buildings until August 29, 2005.  The church remained open until August 29, 2005. After Hurricane Katrina the Archdiocese de-consecrated several properties in the city, including St. Rose de Lima.

After Hurricane Katrina, there was interest expressed by various groups in redeveloping the St. Rose de Lima complex as part of rebirth of the Bayou Road corridor, however nothing took hold until 2010. In 2010, local developer Hal Brown decided to establish Rose Community Development Corporation (Rose CDC) to lease and redevelop the campus. Over the following two years he entered into a long-term lease with the Archdiocese and began to look for collaborative partners. After joining forces with multiple organizations, he renamed the complex the Bayou Treme Center for Arts and Education.  By partnering with Downtown Neighborhoods Improvement Association (DNIA), NewCorp (NC) and House of Healing Church (HHC), Brown was able to develop a development plan for the three structures.

The purpose of this collaboration is to rekindle the sentiment of community ownership that was lost in the church’s closing. Hal Brown, a local of Tremé and now the Managing Member and Board President for the Center, feels that he can expand the reach of this emotional center in the community to include a broader audience. The Center sits on the border of seven different neighborhoods and he hopes to cross these mental barriers and provide a variety of “education incubators” and “arts spaces” to the people of these neighborhoods.

Over the next two years Brown secured three possible tenants; HHC, a post-Katrina non-denominational church, Lagniappe Academy (LA), a then two-year old charter school and NewCorp LLC, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). HHC would occupy the church building and hold services there while leasing the church for community events as a means to generate revenue. LA planned to occupy the three-story brick school building and also house a charter school incubator and the CDFI would occupy the wood-frame school building along with additional office space for lease. Unfortunately, in 2013, Hal Brown passed away unexpectedly putting the future of the project in jeopardy.

Look for history, information, and updates on our future home at the Rose Collaborative on the last Monday of each month. For questions email us.

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