Old Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, LA
The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. Completed in 1752, it is also the oldest surviving example of the French colonial period in the United States. Often referred to as the Archbishop Antoine Blanc Memorial Complex, the Old Ursuline Convent also houses the Archdiocesan archives. The building is known as the "treasure of the archdiocese." The main lodge is filled with dozens of oil paintings of past archbishops, bishops, religious statues and bronze busts. Smaller rooms remind the visitors of the building's many functions over the years: a convent, an orphanage, a makeshift hospital and later a residence hall for local bishops. Behind the main building, there is a peaceful walled courtyard. Here the visitor finds statues that pay homage to founding Ursuline Sisters, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and Father Francis Xavier Seelos.