Saint Paul Bell
Saint Paul Bell
Built Circa Year: forged Circa 1884
Address: 326 South Washington Street
National Register of Historic Places: Lafayette Historic Register Number 110
Historic Register Listing:Designated August 16, 2018

In 1884, Black parishioners paid to have this bell forged as a gift to Lafayette’s only Catholic church, to remind White members of Saint John Church that they were also to be considered fully-participating members. Later, in 1910, Reverend Teurlings, at a meeting with Black parishioners of Saint John Church regarding the building of a new Saint John Cathedral, asked about their preference in seating arrangements. He asked if “Colored People” would prefer to be seated in the rear as was the custom, or would they like a side aisle, or would they like to have a place upstairs. According to Father Teurlings, a woman stated, “There is one thing we would like, but there’s no use talking about that.” After being encouraged to speak, the woman said, “Oh Father, if we could only have a church of our own.” Shortly thereafter, Father Teurlings succeeded in convincing New Orleans Archbishop Blenk that Lafayette’s Black Catholics should have their own Parish, and in 1911, Saint Paul the Apostle Parish was formed. Parishioners of Saint John Church returned the bell for use at the new Black Church. The bell signifies the nature of the relationship between White and Black parishioners of Lafayette’s Roman Catholic Church at the turn of the 20th century.