On Sunday, the 2nd of October, we attended an amazing service at Saint Augustine – the oldest African-American catholic parish in the United States. So lucky were we to had such an opportunity to celebrate its 170th anniversary with a pure melange of people of different races.
The property on which Saint Augustine Church stands was a part of the original Claude Tremé plantation estate. The parish itself was founded in 1841 by free people of colour, under the episcopacy of Bishop Antoine Blanc. It is worth mentioning that the parishioners came from various, unique cultures and races, but still, they treat each other with respect and love. Providing the way of worshiping God, we can assume they are really attached to the spiritual community they belonged to. Our group witnessed a totally unaccustomed way of adoring God by singing, dancing and screaming even. The experience we gained will definitely stay in our minds as a whole new practice.
After the ceremony we were invited to have a lunch with St. Augustine’s members. The delicious meal we were served and the ambience during having it were incredible; we have never expected such exclusive treatment! The atmosphere was strengthen by the sun which made this afternoon a real festive one.
Then we headed to Congo Square, an open space within Louis Armstrong Park. Once a week, on Sunday, a group of people gather together to express their feelings in a music performance. They present something great – a mixture of African rhythms, jazz and Mardi Gras Indians music. We stayed there for a while, as we have been charmed by their spirituality and cultural devotion.
And finally, overwhelmed by the entertainment we had so far, our professors took us to witness something even more sensational, namely the Second Line. It is a traditional New Orleans parade where the followers of the band (so-called ‘main line’) just enjoy the music, dance and have a great fun. We were given a chance to admire a diversity of absolutely original people who did not bother whether they look weird or not.