clock menu more-arrow no yes
A large white church with a porch. There are trees in front of the church.

8 amazing spots housed in repurposed NOLA churches

Former houses of worship find new life and 21st-century appeal as yoga studios, theaters, restaurants, and more

View as Map

Although church services are one of many things millennials have been accused of killing, Catholicism looms large in New Orleans (see also: Mardi Gras, Voodoo, St. Joseph’s Day, Saints football). Our landscape is dotted with gorgeous cathedrals, including the oldest one in the U.S.

Many of these churches have been decommissioned, abandoned, re-envisioned, and renovated in recent years. They’ve become beautiful public spaces that fill the very human need to connect with one’s community and/or higher power. Here are a few to check out.

Read More

1. Esplanade Studios

Copy Link
2540 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

Acoustically, it’s hard to beat Gothic Revival churches, which were specifically built to enhance the full, reverberant sound of worship songs. This Treme church opened in 1847, and it includes a pipe organ donated by Andrew Carnegie. Shuttered post-Katrina, the 14,000-square-foot church found new life as a recording studio. Clients ranging from Willie Nelson to Katy Perry have recorded there. This past summer, the owners opened Lamara, a plant-based coffee shop, adjacent to the studio.

A beautiful church with glossy wood floors and high arched windows, plus an organ Courtesy Misha Kachkachishvili

2. Southern Rep Theatre

Copy Link
2541 Bayou Rd
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 522-6545
Visit Website

After wandering for years, Southern Rep Theatre found a permanent home in the former St. Rose de Lima church. Many elements of the circa-1915 Gothic Tudor church were preserved post-renovation, including its stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The venue’s bar, Sanctuary, was built from the church confessional’s wood.

The interior of Southern Rep Theatre in New Orleans. There are stained glass windows, a wooden bar, and bar stools.
An atmospheric place for a drink.
Little Fang Photos

3. The Church of Yoga

Copy Link
1480 N Rocheblave St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 827-1421
Visit Website

There’s a neon sculpture where the baptismal pool once stood, and yoga mats have replaced rows of pews, but the vibe at the 7th Ward’s Church of Yoga remains calm and sacred. Renovated to the studs by Concordia Architecture, the former Baptist church now hosts more than 35 yoga classes a week, including free beginner’s yoga, community classes, and morning mantras.

4. Vessel NOLA

Copy Link
3835 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 603-2775
Visit Website

Housed in a former Lutheran church built circa 1914, this elegant New American restaurant features original stained glass windows, a 35-foot walnut bar, and exposed beams. The Mid-City destination is a gorgeous place to sit and sip a craft cocktail or nosh on shrimp and grits. In September, Vessel was featured in The Travel Channel’s “Dead Files.”

5. ArtSpace Bell School Apartments

Copy Link
2111 Dumaine St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 265-0965
Visit Website

After undergoing a $37.4 million renovation in 2016, the former Andrew J. Bell school was converted into affordable housing, and its former chapel became a 2,000-square-foot community space. Built in 1904, its Gothic features include dormer windows with leaved stone finials, stained glass, and Corinthian columns.

A room with an arched ceiling. The ceiling is wooden and there are stained glass windows. The walls are exposed red brick. There are support beams running from the ceiling to the floor.
Exposed brick and arched ceilings create a texture, open feel.
Photo courtesy Leslie Doles

6. Hotel Peter and Paul

Copy Link
2317 Burgundy St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 356-5200
Visit Website

A bar occupies the rectory at the former Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and School campus in the Marigny. Cypress moldings, stained glass windows, and marble mantels remain intact at the circa-1860s church, which is now a 71-room boutique hotel.

The interior of Hotel Peter and Paul. There is a wooden bar with stools that have red cushions. The walls and ceiling are yellow with a pattern. There is a fireplace with potted plants.
Craft cocktails taste better in a setting like this.
Photo by Christian Harder courtesy of Hotel Peter & Paul

7. Marigny Opera House

Copy Link
725 St Ferdinand St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 948-9998
Visit Website

Designed by French architect Theodore Giraud and built in 1853, The Marigny Opera House now serves as a “church of the arts” (e.g., a theater, banquet hall, and events space). Solange saw fit to hold her 2014 wedding in the gorgeously weathered former Holy Trinity Catholic Church, which is now among the buzziest venues in New Orleans..

8. 1314 Napoleon Ave

Copy Link
1314 Napoleon Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115

The chapel at this orphanage-turned-condo-building was once owned by Ann Rice and pops on and off the market. It sold most recently for $1,650,000 in February 2019 and includes a dining area in the former altar, a home theater in the choir loft, 28-foot ceilings, crown molding crosses, and 16 stained-glass windows. Though the gorgeous space isn’t open to the public, you could always buy a different condo in the 28-unit St. Elizabeth building and befriend its owners.

The interior of a room with high ceilings, a chandelier, arched windows. There are couches, a table, chairs, a fireplace, and murals.
The former altar, with its hand-painted murals, has become a sitting area.
Photo courtesy Kelly Waltemath of Keller Williams Realty

Loading comments...

1. Esplanade Studios

2540 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
A beautiful church with glossy wood floors and high arched windows, plus an organ Courtesy Misha Kachkachishvili

Acoustically, it’s hard to beat Gothic Revival churches, which were specifically built to enhance the full, reverberant sound of worship songs. This Treme church opened in 1847, and it includes a pipe organ donated by Andrew Carnegie. Shuttered post-Katrina, the 14,000-square-foot church found new life as a recording studio. Clients ranging from Willie Nelson to Katy Perry have recorded there. This past summer, the owners opened Lamara, a plant-based coffee shop, adjacent to the studio.

2540 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

2. Southern Rep Theatre

2541 Bayou Rd, New Orleans, LA 70119
The interior of Southern Rep Theatre in New Orleans. There are stained glass windows, a wooden bar, and bar stools.
An atmospheric place for a drink.
Little Fang Photos

After wandering for years, Southern Rep Theatre found a permanent home in the former St. Rose de Lima church. Many elements of the circa-1915 Gothic Tudor church were preserved post-renovation, including its stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The venue’s bar, Sanctuary, was built from the church confessional’s wood.

2541 Bayou Rd
New Orleans, LA 70119

3. The Church of Yoga

1480 N Rocheblave St, New Orleans, LA 70119

There’s a neon sculpture where the baptismal pool once stood, and yoga mats have replaced rows of pews, but the vibe at the 7th Ward’s Church of Yoga remains calm and sacred. Renovated to the studs by Concordia Architecture, the former Baptist church now hosts more than 35 yoga classes a week, including free beginner’s yoga, community classes, and morning mantras.

1480 N Rocheblave St
New Orleans, LA 70119

4. Vessel NOLA

3835 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Housed in a former Lutheran church built circa 1914, this elegant New American restaurant features original stained glass windows, a 35-foot walnut bar, and exposed beams. The Mid-City destination is a gorgeous place to sit and sip a craft cocktail or nosh on shrimp and grits. In September, Vessel was featured in The Travel Channel’s “Dead Files.”

3835 Iberville St
New Orleans, LA 70119

5. ArtSpace Bell School Apartments

2111 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116
A room with an arched ceiling. The ceiling is wooden and there are stained glass windows. The walls are exposed red brick. There are support beams running from the ceiling to the floor.
Exposed brick and arched ceilings create a texture, open feel.
Photo courtesy Leslie Doles

After undergoing a $37.4 million renovation in 2016, the former Andrew J. Bell school was converted into affordable housing, and its former chapel became a 2,000-square-foot community space. Built in 1904, its Gothic features include dormer windows with leaved stone finials, stained glass, and Corinthian columns.

2111 Dumaine St
New Orleans, LA 70116

6. Hotel Peter and Paul

2317 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70117
The interior of Hotel Peter and Paul. There is a wooden bar with stools that have red cushions. The walls and ceiling are yellow with a pattern. There is a fireplace with potted plants.
Craft cocktails taste better in a setting like this.
Photo by Christian Harder courtesy of Hotel Peter & Paul

A bar occupies the rectory at the former Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and School campus in the Marigny. Cypress moldings, stained glass windows, and marble mantels remain intact at the circa-1860s church, which is now a 71-room boutique hotel.

2317 Burgundy St
New Orleans, LA 70117

7. Marigny Opera House

725 St Ferdinand St, New Orleans, LA 70117

Designed by French architect Theodore Giraud and built in 1853, The Marigny Opera House now serves as a “church of the arts” (e.g., a theater, banquet hall, and events space). Solange saw fit to hold her 2014 wedding in the gorgeously weathered former Holy Trinity Catholic Church, which is now among the buzziest venues in New Orleans..

725 St Ferdinand St
New Orleans, LA 70117

8. 1314 Napoleon Ave

1314 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
The interior of a room with high ceilings, a chandelier, arched windows. There are couches, a table, chairs, a fireplace, and murals.
The former altar, with its hand-painted murals, has become a sitting area.
Photo courtesy Kelly Waltemath of Keller Williams Realty

The chapel at this orphanage-turned-condo-building was once owned by Ann Rice and pops on and off the market. It sold most recently for $1,650,000 in February 2019 and includes a dining area in the former altar, a home theater in the choir loft, 28-foot ceilings, crown molding crosses, and 16 stained-glass windows. Though the gorgeous space isn’t open to the public, you could always buy a different condo in the 28-unit St. Elizabeth building and befriend its owners.

1314 Napoleon Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115