CHAPTER 11


VATICAN PAVILION
LOUISIANA WORLD EXPOSITION, NEW ORLEANS, 1984

A COMPETITION

Click on the image to enlarge.

Vatican Pavilion presentation cover,
Curtis Collection,
Southeastern Architectural Archive,
Tulane Library.

The years 1982, '83, and '84 brought forth a new kind of excitement which proved to be an experience that was incredible, frustrating, and disillusioning.

The Vatican Pavilion commission was awarded as a result of a competition. The building was designed for a prominent site in the New Orleans Historic Warehouse District for the Louisiana World Exposition.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans decided to sponsor an exhibit of rare and precious art from the Vatican and major museums around the world in connection with the Louisiana World Exposition to be held in New Orleans in 1984. The exhibit would be housed in a specially designed building to be known as the New Orleans Vatican Pavilion. An architectural competition to select the architect would be held among twelve invited architectural firms. I was invited to participate.

I received an invitation to attend a meeting in the archbishop's conference room along with representatives of the other competing firms to receive the program for the competition.


FATHER V. AMBROSE McINNES, PROJECT DIRECTOR

Archbishop Philip M. Hannan introduced Father McInnes, the one chosen to direct the Vatican Pavilion project, then turned the meeting over to him, and left the room. I knew McInnes, a member of the Dominican Order, as Pastor of the University Community of St. Thomas Moore/Tulane Catholic Center. He was the chair of Judeo-Christian Studies at Tulane.

I was aware of McInnes' education in Canada, his doctoral degree in the Philosophy of Aesthetics, and his chairmanship of the Fine Arts Committee of the Louisiana Council for Music and the Performing Arts. He was the author of Taste and See Louisiana Renaissance: Religion and The Arts (Harvey Press of New Orleans, printers, 1977).

Click on the image to enlarge.

"St. Louis Cathedral From The River." Watercolor by Curtis, 1975.

The cover of the book is illustrated with my watercolor "St. Louis Cathedral from the River." The dedication states "For all those who love God, the Artists and the Arts." McInnes promoted and handled the construction of the Myra Clare Rogers Memorial Chapel on the Tulane campus. He was extremely well qualified to lead such an ambitious undertaking. I admired him and looked upon him as a friend.

McInnes read through the program for the competition, paragraph by paragraph, explaining the nature of the project and giving his views of what he expected to achieve. After he completed his presentation, everyone in the room was inspired and excited.

 

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