Nola 300: Iconic St. Louis Cathedral started out as a little wooden cabin church

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NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans is celebrating its Tricentennial this year, marking 300 years of storied history.

In honor of the New Orleans Tricentennial, News with a Twist is featuring the iconic people and places that make our city what it is today.

One of those places is the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square.

"If you look at the Cathedral today, you're looking at this beautiful Gothic structure with these spires that go up to a point. That's not what it looked like early on," explained Dr. Emilie Gagnet Leumas, director of archives and records for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

When St. Louis Cathedral was first built in the 1720s, it was "just a little cabin church, built out of wood."

The original structure was blown down during a hurricane. The rebuilt church later burned down in 1788.

That's when Don Almonaster y Rojas put up the money to rebuild the Cathedral. The church continued to evolve over the years, with the central spire going up in the 1820s, and another expansion taking place in the 1850s when New Orleans became an Archdiocese.

Then, in 1909, a "miscreant" threw dynamite into the Cathedral and caused a lot of damage.

Another renovation happened in 1915 after a hurricane.

" The church has gone through a lot of changes, the structure, what it looks like, but the church has always been in that same spot," Leumas said. "If you think about it, the church and Catholicism has been here for the 300 years. There hasn't been a government. There hasn't been another organization. But the Catholic faith and the church where it stood has been here for that entire period."

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