Antoine Blanc 1792-1860 : Fourth Bishop and First Archbishop of New Orleans

 
9781598044485: Antoine Blanc 1792-1860 : Fourth Bishop and First Archbishop of New Orleans
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ANTOINE BLANC, fourth bishop and first archbishop of New Orleans. He was a native of Sury-le-Comtal, France born in the year 1792, right at the end of the French Revolution. He was ordained a priest in 1817 and answered the appeal of the newly ordained bishop of New Orleans, William DuBourg, the second bishop of the See, who was rounding up recruits in Europe for his diocese.

Blanc came to the America, and was first sent to Pointe Coupée, Baton Rouge, were he also covered the missions of Feliciana. He was the appointed Vicar General and Administrator of New Orleans, and became the fourth bishop of New Orleans in 1835. In 1850, New Orleans became an archdiocese and Antoine Blanc became the first Archbishop of the See.

Archbishop Blanc served as Bishop and Archbishop just short of twenty-five years. From 1835 until his death in 1860, the number of chapels and churches in Louisiana increased from twenty-six to seventy-three, including forty-seven new parishes in New Orleans, along the Mississippi and bayous and in towns. As the population and number of Catholics increased, especially in South and West Louisiana, the need for parishes were much in demand.

A new era was begun. He established the first seminary in Louisiana, at Plattenville from which many priests were ordained, among whom were Father Menard who was the outstanding missionary of the Lafourche area, and many others. Two colleges were established, eight academies for young women, nine free schools, thirteen orphanages, two hospitals and two homes for the elderly. Parish organizations grew, two diocesan synods and two provincial councils were held. The power of the trustee system at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans was all but eliminated, and many parishes regulations were strictly enforced. All these came about because of the new era that Antoine Blanc promoted at the initial thrust of his episcopacy.

Church historian Roger Baudier in the Catholic Church in Louisiana credits this humble carpenter s son in a single sentence: Unquestionably, Archbishop Blanc was the chosen instrument of Divine Providence for the revivification of the Church in Louisiana.

The book is to be published in the very near future, from Claitor s Publishing Company, Baton Rouge. It has 170 pages, covering the early family life, seminary learning, his missionary life, and a chronology, illustrations, an extensive bibliography and index.

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