Baton Rouge, Diocese of

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The Diocese of Baton Rouge (Rubribaculensis ) was created Aug. 14, 1961, by Pope John XXIII, who named as its first bishop Robert E. Tracy, formerly auxiliary bishop of Lafayette, La. The see city is the capital of Louisiana and is the locale of Louisiana State University, where Tracy had been chaplain of the Catholic Student Center (194659). He was installed Nov. 8, 1961, in St. Joseph's Cathedral, the oldest (1792) parish, and served until he retired in March of 1974 (d. April 4, 1980). He was succeeded by Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan, who had been auxiliary to the bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri since 1967. Bishop Sullivan died Sept. 4, 1982 and in January of 1983 Bishop Stanley J. Ott, who had been auxiliary bishop in New Orleans, was named the third bishop of Baton Rouge. Bishop Ott served until his death in 1992. His successor was Bishop Alfred C. Hughes, formerly auxiliary bishop in Boston. He served until he was named coadjutor with right of succession to Archbishop Francis B. Schulte of New Orleans in February, 2001. In March 2002, the Most Reverend Robert W. Muench, former bishop of Covington, Kentucky, assumed the pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The diocese of Baton Rouge embraces 12 civil parishes (counties) Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. James, which had earlier formed part of the Archdiocese of new orleans. About 30 percent of the population are Catholic, distributed across 70 parishes. The location of Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River, its oil refineries, and petrochemical and allied industries contribute to its economic importance.

[h. c. bezou/

m. guidry/eds.]