From the early days of the establishment of the parish, our Jesuit priests kept journals chronicling the day-to-day life of a Catholic community in the early 1900’s Shreveport. Along with city maps, journals and old photographs, the exact site of the first church and school were located on Texas Avenue.
May & June 2017: Excavation exposing foundations of original St. John’s College and Church on Texas Avenue, built in 1902 by the Jesuits. A historical marker will be placed at the site of our first parish church and school. More excavation exposed the east foundation, center aisle of church and chimney. In June, the excavation team was live on Red River Radio, discussing the project. RRR’s Bill Beckett spoke with Father Peter Mangum, Rector of the Cathedral of St John Berchmans along with archeologist Jason Brown and Dr. Cheryl White, Associate Professor of History here at LSUS about an archeological dig going on now on the site of the Original Cathedral of St John Berchmans. The team also unexpectedly unearths eastern foundational pillar deep–like an ancient step pyramid or Mayan ziggurat.
On the local newstation, Channel 3, KTBS. Text from the Channel 3 article
November 26, 2017
Site of the original St. John Berchmans Parish Church & College
1564 Texas Avenue
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Our book starts at the very beginning …
In 1902, the Jesuit Fathers answered an invitation from the Bishop of Alexandria to establish a parish and school in Shreveport, Louisiana. In March of that year, Father John F. O’Connor, S.J., the first pastor of St. John Berchmans Parish, began construction of two frame buildings for the parish priests’ residence, church and school in the 1500 block of Texas Avenue …
And ends with …
In preparing this book for publication for the Cathedral parish, it was decided that a proper conclusion would be to place a state historical marker on the site of the original college and church from 1902-1903. Our origins as a parish date to the Jesuit decision to build a school here in Shreveport at the turn of the twentieth century, so curiosity about the original location led to its verification using old city maps, and an exciting archaeological dig beginning in April 2017. The property owners, the Glorioso family, gave permission to begin the excavations.
And includes …