The first permanent Baptist church in New Orleans was established in 1843 when founding pastor Russell Holman and Evangelist T. J. Fisher rallied a few scattered Baptists. The First Baptist Church of New Orleans was begun December 28,1843, with ten members in a rented room at # 66 Julia Street. A church building was dedicated in 1846 on St. Charles Avenue between Julia and St. Joseph Streets. The Gold Rush of 1849 and a yellow fever epidemic which claimed the life of the second pastor, Isaac Taylor Hinton, weakened the fledgling congregation and in 1851 financial troubles forced the Church to sell its property.
The congregation worshiped from place to place during the next ten years including the Carrollton Railroad Depot (Baronne and Perdido Streets) and the Coliseum Place Baptist Church. From 1861 until 1892 the Church was located at Magazine and Second Streets. When this building was destroyed by fire in 1892, the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention purchased the "Garden District Theater" as a place of worship for the Church.
Newcomb Chapel was used for worship in 1907 while a new church building was constructed at St. Charles Avenue and Delachaise Street. A large expansion to the church facilities was undertaken in the early 1920s during the pastorate of Dr. R.G. Lee with enlargement of the auditorium and the addition of an educational building.
First Baptist sold the Delachaise property and moved to the location at 4301 St. Charles Avenue in December of 1954 during the 35-year tenure of Pastor J.D. Grey. The building was dedicated by Dr. Billy Graham. Dr. Grey led the church during an era of significant ministry expansion and great community involvement. A three-story activities building was added in 1963.
The new 17-acre campus of First Baptist New Orleans at 5290 Canal Boulevard was dedicated to the Lord on August 15, 2004. This relocation achieves for the church greater visibility, accessibility, and parking space as well as a state-of-the-art facility that is beautiful and functional.
First Baptist Church has established or assisted many churches and missions in the New Orleans area through the years beginning with Coliseum Place in 1854 and Valence Street in 1886 and continuing up to the present. This missionary spirit is evident in its own outreach and ministry endeavors and its support of local and worldwide gospel ministries. First Baptist seeks to touch the city of New Orleans through a variety of activities that apply the gospel to the needs of the city.
First Baptist launched in 2004 the Baptist Crossroads Project, a building campaign to construct 40 new homes in a blighted area of the central city. This exciting project is a cooperative effort of Baptist ministries in the city, state, and nation. Habitat for Humanity is also a partner. www.baptistcrossroads.org
The congregation of First Baptist New Orleans continues to seek those who are spiritually lost in the “city that care forgot” and to be the hands and face of Christ in a time and place of great need and great opportunity for the gospel.