Priests and Nuns, Heroes and Heroines

Description

Yellow fever in 1873 could strike anyone no matter their class, race, sex, or social standing. No one was immune.  The fever took the bad and the good alike.   Five Roman Catholic Priests are among the most remembered victims.   Three priests, Frs. J.M.J. LeBiler, Jean Pierre, and Isadore Queremais were told by their superiors to leave the stricken city.  They refused choosing to remain with their congregations and minister to sick and dying. Later they would be joined with two more priests, one from Monroe, Fr. Louis Gergaud, the other from Natchitoches, Fr. Francois LeVezouet.  All would perish before their epidemic was over.

Working beside the priests were two Catholic nuns who would perish.   Sister Marie Marthe Denec and Sister Marie Angele Nedelec were likely “teaching sisters” at the newly founded St. Vincent’s Academy next to Holy Trinity Church in downtown Shreveport.  At the outbreak, they forsook their classrooms and went into the fever wards. 

The sacrifice of these brave men and women is not forgotten by Shreveport’s Catholic community. Today stained glass windows at Holy Trinity Church commemorate their selfless devotion to their faith and fellow man.  Our photocopy of their late 19th Century composite photograph is on display.  The original was lent to the Talbot Museum in 2014 for display on its opening.  Later it was returned with grateful thanks to the Shreveport Diocese.  It remains one of the diocese most treasured possession. From right to left are Frs. J.M.J. LeBiler, Louis Gergaud, Jean Pierre, Francois LeVezouet, Isadore Queremais.

“GREATER LOVE THAN THIS NO MAN HATH, THAT A MAN LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS” John 15:13

 

 

Location in Museum

Yellow Jack! Exhibition

Age

Late 19th Century
  • yellow fever priests
  • Holy Trinity Church downtown Shreveport
  • Fr. Louis Gergaud
  • Fr. Jean Pierre
  • Fr. Isidore Queremais
  • Fr. Francois LeVezouet
  • Fr. J.M.J. Biler
  • Sister Marie Marthe Denec
  • Sister Marie Angele Nedelec