Antoine, Père

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Père Antoine (pĕr ăntwän´), 1748–1829, Spanish priest in New Orleans, a Capuchin friar. His family name was Mareno, and the Spanish name given to him by the church was Antonio de Sedella. Through many years of service at St. Louis Cathedral under Spanish, briefly French, and then U.S. rule, he won great love and respect from his French congregation, who had previously regarded his harshness with distaste. He was almost constantly at war with the authorities. The Spanish colonial rulers once sent him back as a prisoner to Spain, and U.S. officials were later highly incensed at his secret dealings with the Spanish. The legend that he was empowered to introduce the Inquisition to Louisiana but refrained from doing so is apparently based on fact.