St. Alphonsus Church in New Orleans, where the Kellys, my husband’s great-grandparents, were married in February 1859. Paid a visit on a trip to New Orleans–a “destination wedding” of a relative of my husband. The young bride is the great-great-granddaughter of the couple married at this church. The morning after her wedding, several members of the extended family, as well as the bride and groom, found our way here after Sunday Mass.
The Redemptorist church was built in 1857 for the burgeoning Irish community in New Orleans. It is just across the street from St. Mary’s Assumption Church, which Redemptorists built three years later for the German-speaking Catholics. The congregations eventually combined, and St. Mary’s–where we attended Sunday Mass– carries the legacy into the future. Here is located the grave and shrine of Blessed Francis Seelos, a Bavaria-born Redemptorist who pastored immigrant congregations on the East Coast and in the South. He died in New Orleans while serving victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1867. His cause for canonization is led from St. Mary’s.
This year’s bride and groom married in still another small church in the Irish Channel/Lower Garden District of New Orleans. It is within easy walking distance of St. Alphonsus/St. Mary’s–which underscores how dense in population the district was in the years before the Civil War, teeming with a polyglot population of European immigrants. The Kellys relocated to Shreveport, where they had seven sons and three daughters. The children scattered, and none of their remaining descendants in north Louisiana bears the name Kelly.