Saint Paul Chapel

Saint Paul Chapel

Built 1950
301 East Convent Street
Lafayette Historic Register Number 98
Designated May 15, 2014

In 1950, Our Lady of Good Hope Chapel was built by the first African American Catholic Parish, Saint Paul the Apostle Church. Today, the Parish still serves Catholics living in the areas of Freetown, Port Rico, and La Place neighborhoods. Prior to building the Good Hope Chapel, Catholic Masses in Freetown-Port Rico were held in the historic, Good Hope Hall, located directly behind the Chapel, and featured on page 14 of this book. The history of Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood is of significant importance to the development of Lafayette, and it is a history beginning years before the town of Vermilionville was incorporated and years before the sale of the Louisiana Purchase to the United States in 1803. In the Louisiana Territory under French rule it was legal for slaves to purchase their freedom in exchange for either work or goods, free African communities like Freetown-Port Rico, emerged throughout all areas in the South. After the end of the Civil War, when all Blacks were granted freedom, the Blacks who had long before settled in “Freetown”, graciously shared knowledge of how to make a living with their newly freed neighbors. These original “Freetown” families included the Martins, James, Moutons, Figaros, Cocos, and several others whose cultural, technological and culinary influence was significant to the development of the rich heritage found in Lafayette and throughout Acadiana.

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