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St. James Catholic Church

St. James Catholic Church

St. James Catholic Church began as Sacred Heart School, a mission which was started by the Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio, Texas when they opened a one room school for African American children in 1884. A new school was constructed for this purpose in Alexandria when Father Menard purchased property between Fisk and Beauregard Streets. It opened in 1902 when 80 pupils were enrolled. Father Marcos of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral established a separate African American Catholic church, associated with the school, and formed the Sacred Heart Parish. In 1915 a church building was constructed for Sacred Heart. It was renamed St. James at this time in memory of the brother of Father Joseph Smith who donated money for the building. The church was constructed at a cost of $7,500 by the LeGras Brothers Construction Company. It is of predominantly red brick construction with round arched stained glass windows in the side elevations, surrounded by white stone window surrounds. A plain, white entablature wraps around the building, and two colossal ionic columns support the brick pediment. The classical temple façade is expressed within brick masonry, giving it an eclectic appearance. A pentagonal cupola sits on the roof, topped with a dome and a cross.

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