COPYRIGHT 2020 © PRESERVATION ALLIANCE OF LAFAYETTE
The site of Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral is on property that was donated in 1821 by Jean Mouton, before the town was incorporated. The site served as a church and social center for the rural community between Saint Martinville Parish and Parish of Saint Charles at Grand Coteau. Originally, the building was a small wooden church that looked like a tiny chapel by today’s standards. By 1900, the congregation was large enough to warrant a traditional Cathedral building. Father Teurlings who was Pastor at the time, decided to construct Lafayette’s first brick church, and in 1909 when he returned to Holland to visit his parents, he engaged a Dutch Romanesquetrained architect to provide a design and drawings. Once funding was established for construction, Father Teurlings hired Eugene Guillot of New Iberia as general contractor, and by November of 1913, the first cornerstone was set. To minimize costs, parishioners transported building materials using their personal horse-drawn wagons from the railroad depot to the site. Construction took over 2 years to complete. Just north of the Cathedral building, the Saint John Oak provided shade for horses and surreys. Today, its branches span 145 feet across, almost as large as the Cathedral is long.