The (almost) true legend of St. Expedite in New Orleans


THEN: Some stories are rooted in legend, and some are rooted in verifiable fact. This one leans toward the legendary, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling to the faithful of New Orleans. It goes like this: Sometime around 1921, Catholic nuns at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Rampart Street received a crate marked “expedite” (which may or may not have been intended to indicate it was a rush order). Inside was an otherwise unidentified statue of a Roman soldier, helmetless and swordless. In one hand he held a palm branch, a symbol of martyrdom. In the other was a cross marked “hodie,” Latin for “today.” The nuns declared him to be St. Expedite, and installed him in the church, near the entrance, where he has for years drawn prayers from legions of people seeking rapid intervention.


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