In 1882, a missionary named Lena Saunders taught English and scripture to Chinese laborers that had recently moved to New Orleans. Saunders initially worked out of her home, but it was not long before her congregation rapidly expanded, due to the South’s growing Chinese population. During the 1920s, the Chinese Mission moved from its original location at Lena Saunders’s house on South Liberty Street, to a new location on South Roman Street. By this time the Mission had evolved into a permanent fixture of the city where an increasing number of Chinese families could congregate. The Mission started a scripture school for children and also held bible studies and social activities for adults.
By 1957 the Chinese Mission had officially become The Chinese Presbyterian Church of New Orleans and the church was now located on Bienville Street. The church became a haven for the Chinese not just in New Orleans, but throughout the entire Gulf South. In 1965, the Immigration Reform Act was passed and this led to a large influx of Chinese to immigrate to the United States. Chinese Christians in New Orleans formed their own Baptist church in 1982 and by 1997; the Baptists had the biggest Chinese Christian Church in Louisiana. Founded over 130 years ago, the Chinese Presbyterian Church of New Orleans is one of the oldest operating churches in the United States.
Images from the Chinese Presbyterian Church of New Orleans records. Images from Amistad's website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.