St Patricks Church/Photo by baronplantagenet/Wikimedia Commons

St. Patrick's Church was built in 1840 and renovated after it was damaged by Hurricane Betsey in the 1960s.

St. Patrick's Day is next weekend, a time when New Orleanians celebrate all things Irish. It also calls to mind one of the important Irish cultural landmarks in the city: St. Patrick's Church. The Camp Street church, built for Irish immigrants and other English-speaking Catholics who settled in New Orleans in the 19th century, dates to 1840. That makes it one of the oldest standing buildings in that section of downtown.

The church parish dates to 1833, making it the second-oldest church parish in New Orleans after St. Louis Cathedral, which was founded in 1720. Worshippers first attended services in a small wooden building at the site on Camp Street, an area then known as Faubourg St. Mary.

Architects Charles and James Dakin were hired to design the church and received help from noted architect James Gallier. The structure is a striking example of Gothic Revival architecture, with vaulted ceilings, arches, a 185-foot tower, beautiful stained glass and murals behind the altar by artist Leon Pomarede.

Hurricane Betsy severely damaged the church in 1965, but the building was restored under the direction of architect Samuel Wilson Jr., who was a parishioner. The church was named a National Historic Landmark in 1975.