Fodor's Expert Review Old Ursuline Convent
The Ursulines were the first of many orders of religious women who came to New Orleans and founded schools, orphanages, and asylums, and ministered to the needs of the poor. The original tract of land for a convent, school, and gardens covered several French Quarter blocks. The current structure, which replaced the original convent, was completed in 1752 and is now the oldest French-colonial building in the Mississippi Valley, having survived the disastrous 18th-century fires that destroyed the rest of the Quarter. St. Mary's Church, adjoining the convent, was added in 1845. Now an archive for the archdiocese, the convent was used by the Ursulines for 90 years. The Ursuline Academy, a girls' school founded in 1727, is now Uptown on State Street, where a newer convent and chapel were built. The academy is the oldest girls' school in the country. The Old Ursuline Convent is open to the public for self-guided tours Monday through Saturday.