Beautiful small-town church makes for great photography outing
I had stopped at St. Michael the Archangel Church earlier this year while making a run along a section River Road that, for some reason, I’d never driven. The sun was disappearing over the horizon, and the church doors were locked. Not unexpected.
Catholic churches are some of my favorite subjects, so St. Michael in the tiny hamlet of Convent, La., was logged in my memory for a possible later session. And then a friend, who had no idea about my River Road trip, Facebook me that I should shoot the church because it was beautiful. Weird.
A few days ago, while still recovery from surgery, I decided to make a quick run to St. Michael and see if it was open. I was under orders from my surgeon to exercise my eyes to strengthen them, and I figured getting back behind the camera was good enough.
Thirty minutes later, I was standing in the church with my mouth agape. It was simply beautiful.
The only problem was that there were no lights on in the sanctuary, so I tracked down the church office and quickly secured the approval of the staff to turn on the lights and shoot away.
The church exterior is of Victorian architecture, and was transformed from the original building built in 1833 at a cost of $19,445. It was the first major building constructed on the east bank of St. James Parish, and the bricks were made by local slaves. The cornerstone that sits above the front entrance reads, “This temple, to God Most High, under the patronage of St. Michael the Archangel, was erected through the devotion of these Local People and those in Belgium, in the Year of Our Lord, 1931.” The beautiful altar was imported from Belgium, as was the bell in the bell tower.
The church recently underwent an extensive renovation lead. The historical painting of St. Michael that hangs above the domed altar was restored by Conrad Schmitt Studies, which since 1889 has worked to restore churches, stained glass and artwork throughout the country.
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