Tradition holds that the 1740 St. Charles log chapel was destroyed by fire in 1806 and rebuilt the same year. It was replaced by a wood-framed structure and painted red. The “Little Red Church” became a famous landmark for river travelers. Passengers going downriver were relieved to see the Red Church because it meant New Orleans was only twenty-five miles away. The crews and roustabouts would be excited because they would be paid off at this point to shouts of, “Voila! L’Eglise Rouge!” or “Oh, look, there it is – the Little Red Church.”
In 1806, the Trépagnier family donated a statue of St. Charles Borromeo that stood on the premises for over one hundred years. This statue is the only tangible link to the name St. Charles Borromeo. The “Church of the Germans” stood for over one hundred years and was still in place when the present stucco mission style church was built in 1921.
This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.