Saint Paul Convent
Saint Paul Convent
Built Circa Year: Built 1919
Address: 518 Hopkins Street
National Register of Historic Places: Lafayette Historic Register Number 97
Historic Register Listing:Designated May 15, 2014

Saint Paul Convent was built in 1919 by the Sisters of the Holy Family religious order. The historic significance of this building includes the contributions made to black education by Sisters order which was founded by Marie Henriette Delille (1813-1862). Delille was a fourth-generation free woman of color in New Orleans and her order contributed significant funds to build and operate this convent. Around 1829, Henriette Delille was inspired by French Sister, St. Marthe Fontier, of the Dames Hospitalières. Henriette and two friends, Josephine Charles, and Haitian-born Juliette Gaudin began to preach the Christian gospel to slaves and free people
of color in New Orleans. In 1836, before it was legal for a non-white religious order to exist, Henriette and her friends joined a congregation of Sisters, which became the first convent for non-white women in New Orleans. In 1855, they formed the Sisters of the Holy Family, and expanded to Lafayette in 1903. They taught a classical education curriculum to Lafayette’s Black children. Classical academic subjects included college preparatory education and music. Prior to this time, schools for Black students taught only basic domestic work and manual labor jobs.