THIBODAUX, La – Nestled beneath giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss sits St. John’s Episcopal Church.
This is the oldest Episcopal Church west of the Mississippi.
“The church is on the National Register of Historic Places,” Reverend Stephen Shortess said. “Yes it’s a very historic building, it was designed and built in 1844, designed by the then bishop of Louisiana, Leonidas Polk.”
Back then, it was nicknamed “the remarkably neat church in the village of Thibodaux.”
Reverend Shortess is in his second year of leading the church.
“There’s just something so special about the people here in Thibodaux, the people here in South Louisiana, that we’re not just gonna survive but we’re gonna thrive,” he said.
At St. John’s, music is a big part of the message.
“I think a lot of these communities you see along the bayou grew out of New Orleans, so we keep that vibrancy I think, on a smaller scale because we are Thibodaux,” he said.
Father Steve says people of every faith are welcome at his church, and you’ll want to make time to visit this historic cemetery, where all kinds of remarkable people are buried, including the childhood sweetheart of Ulysses S. Grant.
Her name was Mary King Fulford, and for five months in 1870, she was the Post-Mistress of Thibodaux.