ST. PETER PARISH HISTORY
St. Peter Parish is the first and oldest Catholic Church parish on the Northshore. It was established in 1843 by Fr. Victor Jouanneault at the request of Bishop Antoine Blanc. The first church was a wooden structure located on the west bluff of the Bogue Falaya River. In 1892, Fr. Joseph Koegerl, pastor, who was also a canon of St. Louis Cathedral, built a new church and rectory on the corner of Rutland and Massachusetts Streets. From 1916-1992, Benedictine priests were assigned to the parish from the local monastery, St. Joseph Abbey. The third and present church building was built in 1940 under the pastorate of Father Aemillian Egler, O.S.B. In 1992, Fr. William McGough was appointed pastor by Archbishop Schulte and was the first diocesan priest assigned to the parish in 76 years. He served for 17 years retiring on Easter Sunday 2009. Fr. Otis W. Young is the present pastor. He is the twenty-eighth pastor of St. Peter Parish. Fr. Daniel Brouillette presently serves as parochial vicar.
The first parochial school in Covington, with an enrollment of 30-40 students, was established in 1878 by three Benedictine Sisters. This school remained open for four years and then closed due to lack of funds. In 1890, at the request of Fr. Joseph Koegerl, the Benedictine sisters returned and reopened the school with an enrollment of 28 students. The new church which was built in 1892 served also as the school building until 1910 at which time a new three-room school was built on the lot adjoining the church. This school building was destroyed by a hurricane in September 1915 but was rebuilt soon after. In 1923, a new two-story school was built at a cost of $17,000. In 1955, during the pastorate of Fr. Stephen Mueller, O.S.B., a new brick school building and cafeteria were erected. The brick school building still remains in use today.
Keeping abreast with the growth of the surrounding area, the parish has ushered in a period of remarkable physical plant expansion and renovations: perpetual adoration chapel, church renovations, early childhood center, school cafeteria, middle school building, rectory/administrative center and multi-purpose building. Renovation of the original choir loft to house a new organ which was purchased with parishioner and private donations has been completed. Land and building acquisitions consist of a youth house, a small meeting house and a large playground for the school. Building is underway to include a field house to service the new soccer field that was acquired by donations from the St. Peter School Parent’s Club and private parties.
St. Peter Parish continues to provide for the growing and changing needs of the Northshore Catholic population, particularly after Hurricane Katrina and the resulting shift from New Orleans. St. Peter Parish currently consists of 2647 families and supports 70 ministries. St. Peter School presently serves children from pre-kindergarten to seventh grade. The parish demographic mirrors that of the surrounding community by being predominantly Caucasian with minority percentages of African-American, Latin and Asian parishioners. In the spirit of Fr. Jouanneault’s original vision, St. Peter Parish continues to provide Catholic ministry through strong leadership and unyielding dedication from its parishioners.