about Pere Antoine

Who is Pere Antoine?

Pere Antoine was born Francisco Ildefonso Mareno in the Spanish town of Sedella, on the southern Mediterranean coast of Andalusia. After joining the Capuchin Order, he was given the name Antonio and sent to the New World.
He arrived in New Orleans in 1774 as an official of the Spanish Inquisition and named pastor of the Church of St. Louis. At first, he gained a reputation for rigidity in his early dealings with the French population of New Orleans.

As fire broke out on Good Friday 1788 he refused to allow the church bells to ring in warning. A decision that would lead to the destruction of most of the city and its beloved church. The cornerstone of a new church was laid immediately following the Great Fire and in 1794 the new church was completed, now designated as a cathedral. The Spanish Crown appointed Friar Antonio to be its Rector.

In 1819, he presided over the wedding of Jacques Paris to Marie Laveau, who established a large following of her own as Voodoo Priestess. Later in life he became known for his kind nature, his generosity, and his care for the city’s prisoners and slaves.

Now much loved and deeply revered by the local community, Pere Antoine died on 19 January 1829 at the age of 81. He was buried inside the church three days later.
Even now, it is said that his ghost might still be seen in and around the Cathedral, especially early in the morning when the Quarter is quiet. Perhaps he’ll be sitting in the garden where his hut once stood, or walking alongside in the alley that now bears his name.

Pere Antoine Restaurant
741 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70116