History of the Presbytere

Site of the home for Capuchin Monks

Originally called the “Casa Curial” or “Ecclesiastical House, The Presbytere was built on the site of the residence (otherwise known as “presbytere”) of the Capuchin monks. The 1791 design matching that of the Cabildo was created “with the idea of making the Plaza de Armas uniform, which in fact would beautify it so that they will form two equal wings to the Temple”.  Records state that the building was constructed in 1813, but Spanish records show that the foundations were laid around 1793.

Courthouse before becoming a State Museum

In 1834, the building became a courthouse after being used for commercial enterprises until then. In 1847 when the mansard roof was added to the Cabildo, similar plans for the Presbytere were submitted to the church for approval and financing. In 1853 the city paid the church $55,000 for the property and officially became the deed holder.  It became part of the Louisiana State Museum in 1911, which now uses the building to display its Mardi Gras and Hurricane exhibits.

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