On 10 February 1884, Bishop Jolivet purchased a plot in Clairwood for the erection of a mission church for "Creole". A larger building was erected in 1886 to accommodate Indian and Coloured pupils but this school was closed in 1889. Following a visit by Bishop Delalle in February 1911, he recommended that a new church building be erected. The present structure was built shortly afterwards, and underwent extensive alterations and additions in 1932-33 and 1944. In September of that year the church building was consecrated by Bishop Delalle. It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 10 February 1989.
This once vibrant, now small Parish was named after King Lois XVI of France. His mother impressed upon him from an early age the desire for serving the people especially the poor. He made justice acceptable to all. This is all still very much alive with the Community of, Clairwood.
In the second half of the 19th. Century many Indian Families established themselves in the Area, today know as Clairwood. At about the same period, Mauritian "Creoles" Families also Settled in the Area bringing with them; Cultural Traditions and their Catholic Faith.
In 1884, Bishop Jolivet bought Land for a Mission for the "Creoles" at Clairmont, later to be divided into Clairwood and Montclair. In 1885 a School Chapel was opened and a large Building was erected in the middle of 1886, for the Indian and Coloured pupils who attended St. Louis Church. This Chaple was situated in the corner of Jacobs and South Coast roads, where the Filling Station now stands.
In the earlier days, Clairwood and the adjacent Areas were served by Priests from the Bluff, but from 1912, St. Louis replaced the Bluff as the Centre to reach out to places further South: Lomontville, Montclair-Woodlands, Wentworth, and Merebank.
In 1492, Father Weist and the Parishioners built the present Church, as the other was not suitable. In the late 90's and even today we often hear older Parishioners speak very fondly of how they carried bricks and helped in some way to Build the Church. Once the new Church was buildt, the Old One was used for classes, fundraising dances, parties, etc. Many of the young people enjoyed themselves at the Sunday afternoon Sessions to which People, from all over Durban came.
In the beginning days, St. Louis had Parishioners of many Cultures and Languages with 3 or 4 Masses on Weekends, with a well attended Mass in Zulu for people of Clearwood, Wentworth and the hostels within the Parish.
From 1963 there was a steady decline in the Parish. Two reasons for this were: The growth in the Church, eg: establishing of Merebank (1966) and prior to these, Lamontville and Woodlands - Montclair. The second and major reason was the prospect of Clirwood becoming an Industrial Area and thus destroying the Community and scattering Parishioners to the Corners of Durban. This paid for any development that had been planned, such as much needed Hall.
Despite all of this, the Community of Clairwood rallied together and St. Louis continued as a place where Young People, of all persuasions came together on a Friday night for Youth Gathering and to watch Movies, shown by Fr. Macmanus. Almost 40 years later, it is still heard among the now, 40-50 years olds "remember how we went to the dam for that picnic". Loganathan Moodley, a Hindu speaks with fondness of his experiences at St. Louis with his friends.
The Annual St.Louis Fete around the Feast of St. Louis, on the 25 of August, brings many people back to their Haunt, to meet up with friends. The present Community of Clairwood are also to be found, assisting on that day and joining in the fun. This Community Spirit is also evident another Fundraising Efforts such as Dances.
Members of the Parish who still reside in the Area, play an active role in life of Cliarwood.
One of the ways that the Parish continues to interact with the Community of Clairwood, is via the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which is a group of Men, from the Parish who obtain cash Donations and Raise funds to assist the Needy in the Area, irrespective of their Religion affiliation. This group has been operating for over 50 years. In the past 5 years one of the projects was a Feeding Scheme once a month, at the different Informal Settlements, in Clairwood and also for any Poor and Needy Family.
In Conclusion it is to be noted, that while many of the Families of the Parish have moved out of Clairwood Area, they still Travel to Mass and Functions at the Church every Week. This strong willed Parish Community hold their Church very dear, as it is a family Church and has a family history. Whenever there is a sense of uncertainly, it is clearly and loudly spoken against by anyone.
As a parish community we hope to continue to be part of the Clairwood community.
-29° 54' 50.4", 30° 58' 33.6"