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St. Francis Chapel of Point Coupee

The original St. Francis Chapel of Point Coupee, was one of the first parish churches in Louisiana.

St. Francis Chapel of Point Coupee

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

St. Francis Chapel of Point Coupée. Z28scrambler (Photographer)

One of the first parish churches in the state, St. Francis of Pointe Coupée, located in Chenal, was founded in 1728. The present church, however, is the third, the others having been lost to shifts in the Mississippi River. Although this building was relocated from its original site in the 1930s for construction of a new levee, it is still just a few yards from the river. A simple rectangular building with pointed-arched windows, it has a small bell tower with a miniature spire at the peak of the facade gable and a trefoil-patterned bargeboard along the front gable. Above the entrance door is a small niche containing a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. Inside, a truss roof covers the hall-like single space, and a small balcony is set against the entrance wall. The church contains an eighteenth century confessional. A cemetery with simple grave markers is behind the church.

A few hundred yards to the east of St. Francis is Labatut (10466 Louisiana Highway 420), a two-story galleried plantation house that, according to family tradition, dates from circa 1800, although it has also been given dates of 1810 and 1830. The latter date is most probable in view of the kind of nails used in the construction, the narrow central front room resembling an Anglo American central hall—which is not found in the traditional Creole plan—and the interior decorative features.

Adapted from Karen Kingsley’s Buildings of Louisiana, part of the Buildings of the United States series commissioned by the Society of Architectural Historians (www.sah.org) and published by Oxford University Press.