Dear Julia,

I grew up in the Irish Channel and always heard about St. Alphonsus and St. Mary’s Assumption, the Irish and German churches that stand across the street from one another, but the nearby French church is mostly forgotten. I have read conflicting information about what happened to Notre Dame de Bon Secours and hope you might know something about it. Jack Whaler (Kenner)

Notre Dame de Bon Secours formerly stood on the even side of Jackson Avenue between Constance and Laurel. The Romanesque-style church had a seating capacity of about 150 and served French-speaking congregants from 1858 to 1925.

The 1915 hurricane damaged the church but was not the direct or sole cause of the church’s destruction. The Redemptorists had in 1924 consolidated St. Alphonsus, St. Mary’s Assumption and Notre Dame de Bon Secours into a single parish. At the time, Notre Dame had few parishoners, making it hard to justify its operating and repair costs. Notre Dame held its final Mass on August 23, 1925. The Feitel House Wrecking Company dismantled the church in January 1926 and sold its architectural salvage on site. The lot was subsequently subdivided and developed.


Dear Julia and Poydras,

I have a question that no one seems to be able to answer. Perhaps between you two, you can answer this. Why is the owner of a restaurant called a restaurateur; no “n?” What happened to the “n” and why is is gone? This simple mystery is driving me crazy. If you can’t answer this then I might need to write to Marilyn Vos Savant as a last resort. Lee Blotner (Metairie, LA)

I may not share Ms. Vos Savant’s distinction of having the world’s highest documented IQ, but I do know some stuff. I tried to explain the entymology to Poydras, but he just said my logic was buggy and flew off to chase butterflies.

The words “restaurant” and “restaurateur” are both derived from the French verb restaurer. I consulted an unabridged French-English dictionary and learned restaurer means “to restore” but, as in English, can refer either to the act of restoring something or to the act of eating. The related word restauration means “restoration” in English but, when used in the culinary sense, it is properly translated as “catering.” The person who restores things or whose place of business business “restores” empty tummies to fullness is called either a restaurateur or a restauratrice, depending on the subject’s gender. The “n” is omitted because the word passed unchanged from the original French language into English.


Dear Julia,

I remember that in the 1970’s or 1980’s there was a giant statue of Saint Jude in front of what is now Ochsner Hospital in Kenner and that the Hospital was called Saint Jude Hospital. Was it one of Danny Thomas’ children’s hospitals? There is a giant statue of Saint Jude beside the Guadalupe Chapel on Rampart Street. Is this that same statue? Thanks, Thomas Diemer (Kenner, LA)

Neither the statue nor the St. Jude Medical Complex were connected with Danny Thomas or his Children’s Hospital. While in Italy in 1985, siblings John and Robert Liljeberg purchased a bronze statue depicting St. Jude Thaddeus for a hospital they were developing in Kenner. Gaetano Dal Monte (1916-2006) of Faenza, Italy, designed the 15 foot, 8 inches tall work.

The hospital went bankrupt in 1995, whereupon the statue was donated to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Since then, Dal Monte’s sculpture has towered over the small walled courtyard next to the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, which is home to the International Shrine of St. Jude at North Rampart and Conti streets.

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