French-born Archbishop Jean Marie Odin, Blanc's successor, took possession of his new see on Pentecost Sunday, 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War. Like other Southern bishops and the great majority of his clergy, the archbishop supported the Confederate cause, worked to alleviate the suffering caused by the war, and spoke out continually of the need for peace. Archbishop Odin was one of Pope Pius IX's main contacts in his unsuccessful attempts to bring about peace.
One of the archbishop's first concerns was to provide for the spiritual welfare of the troops. More than a half dozen of Louisiana's clergy served as Confederate chaplains throughout the South. Numerous Sisters and laywomen served in hospitals assisting war victims. Daughters of Charity not only continued their work at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, but also volunteered for city and battlefield hospitals in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Virginia.
Numerous churches, convents, and schools throughout the state were destroyed, damaged, or sequestered. Confederate troops used Jefferson College in Convent for a barracks as well as St. Basil's Academy in Plaquemine and the Christian Brothers' School in Baton Rouge for hospitals. Federal troops occupied the rectory in Franklin. Le Propagateur Catholique, the archdiocesan newspaper, was suspended during the war and its editor, Father Napoléon Perché, placed under house arrest.
Despite the war, seven new Catholic parishes were established outside New Orleans including Our Lady of Good Harbor in Buras, and St. Peter in Reserve. No new parishes were opened in New Orleans. The main factor in this continued parish expansion was the arrival of new clergy. The number of Catholic priests in the archdiocese increased by fifty percent during the war.
New Orleans Catholic schools found themselves in a strange position. Private and Catholic schools, free from Federal control, became centers of Southern patriotism. Many flourished. Two hundred new students entered the Sisters of Mt. Carmel's New Orleans Academy in 1863 and 1864 alone.
Other Significant Dates
||Federal troops under General Benjamin Butler capture and occupy New Orleans
||Federal ships bombard Donaldsonville and troops invade Bayou Lafourche area
||Ste. Genevieve, the "floating seminary," arrives in New Orleans
1. Capture of New Orleans, facsimile print, 1886, copyrighted by and courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection. All rights reserved.