Bastille Day celebrations begin in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- Holy Name of Jesus Church is celebrating Bastille day a little early this year with a French mass.

"Four years ago we started celebrating this Bastille mass here in Holy Name of Jesus Church," said Father Gros, who led today's mass in French. "It was previously celebrated in the cathedral and then when people came here they were really liking it, and we were too, so it's turned in to a wonderful tradition for holy name parish, and we invite people from everywhere to come."

The actual celebration will take place on July 14, from 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. You can immerse yourself in the French culture of New Orleans at New Orleans Museum of Art.. Admission is $5 and open to the public for outdoor activities and free for all NOMA members and children 6 and under. Now in its sixth year, the celebration will be bringing even more of its French flair to the people of New Orleans.

Those who attended today's mass received the message of how important Catholicism is to the French culture. The homily was about honoring our French culture here in Louisiana, and being really aware of how that affects Catholicism.

"The French heritage is what one of the things that makes New Orleans very unique and a very special city, well known all around the world," said Gregor Trumel, French Consul in New Orleans. "It's a great tradition and i'm very proud to represent my country, France in this very Francophile place in Louisiana."

History

On July 14, 1789, more than 8,000 men and women stormed a prison fortress in Paris known as the Bastille, demanding the release of the political prisoners being held there, plus the prison's store of weapons. The storming of the Bastille was the spark that set off the French Revolution, an event that had a significant impact not only on France itself but its colonies and former colonies as well, including New Orleans.

Arising from the tumult and chaos of the French Revolution was a young, ambitious general named Napoleon Bonaparte. In order to help finance his wars in Europe Napoleon sold off his country's largest North American colony in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. With that 1803 transaction, New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana – plus a vast swath of land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains – became part of the United States.