St. Anna’s Church was originally established, under the direction of The Rev. Francis Lister Hawks, Christ Church rector, by the Rev. Mr. Charles W. Whitall as St. Peter’s Seaman’s Bethel and began April 19, 1846. Mr. Whitall was ordained to the priesthood on November 2, 1846 by The Right Rev. Leonidas Polk first Bishop of Louisiana.
From her inception St. Peter’s, later named St. Anna’s, was a high church congregation with social justice as an expression of spirituality. St. Anna’s was the first “free church” in New Orleans (not charging pew fees) with open seating for all, some seats being reserved for seamen.
Because there was no other church in the area for English-speaking people and because the church school was very popular, there was pressure to organize St. Peter’s into a parish. A site was purchased in 1849 and a chapel was completed. This arrangement as a mission church remained until St. Anna’s was granted parish status in 1869.
The shape of Liturgy at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church is often refered to as “High Church or Anglo Catholic.” By this we understand the center of our worship to be Eucharist, we venerate the Saints, and we keep Holy Days of Special Devotion. However, we are always mindful that worship should remain accessible, dignified, and authentic. While the worship at St. Anna’s remains well within the 1978 Book of Common Prayer, we use a Missal or Worship Guide to help visitors worship with us instead of trying to figure out what is going on.
St. Anna's is vested in issues of Justice and seeks to be a beacon of the "Beloved Community." Our central missionary focus is on Saint Anna's Mobile Medical Unit; Anna's Arts for Kids; and The Victims of Violence advocacy work and memorial wall. Our most recent dream is to combine all of the missions in a central location as a free Episcopal Day School for children living largely in the Treme and largely in economic poverty. This quest is the central focus of our current work.
St. Anna's is a growing congregation. In 2005, after Hurricane Katraina, the congregation was lucky to muster 12 parishioners. By 2014 the average Sunday attendance is now 112 boasting a Sunday School with about 20 children. It is indeed a rich and diverse congregation with a median age of about 40 representing most demographics in the city. It is a relatively poor parish with lower income levels giving great support to the community that makes up St. Anna's.
St. Anna's has been featured in NPR's State of the Reunion, The AP, Episcopal News, New Yorker, New York Times, The Documentary Film "Shell Shocked", Public TV's Great Museums of the World: New Orleans, and other articles and blog posts.
For further information about St. Anna's our Inner City School project: contact us at 1313 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 70116
Being redefined by Hurricane Katrina St. Anna's has aggressively engaged in community work and service. As crime and poverty are imbedded in our neighborhood and beyond we have begun to address these issues by:
Feast of Corpus Christi
Anna's Arts for Kids Photo Workshop
St. Anna's Mobile Medical Unit
Victims of Violence Ministry
Dodwell House by Artist Amzie Adams
Proposed Urban Episcopal Academy
Palm Sunday Procession 2014
Anna's Arts Children Palm Sunday 2014
Palm Sunday 2014 Boiled Crawfish
Palm Sunday in Procession 2014