St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church began in 1879, when a group of children met for Sunday School in the "Greens" section of New Orleans. The Rev. John Doescher was the missionary pastor, but he soon took a call to another congregation and the Sunday School faltered. In October of 1880, The Rev. Nils Bakke was sent the Synodical Conference to see if the mission could be saved. Bakke encouraged the Conference to send a Lutheran teacher to begin an elementarty school for St. Paul's. St. Paul's Lutheran School began in January 1881, under Teacher Charles Berg with 5 students and by April of that year had 90 students. St. Paul's congregation met in a small building that served as church and school; until a church sanctuary was constructed in 1888; a new school was also built in 1888, to accommodate 150 children.
In 1904, under the leadership of St. Paul's second pastor, Rev. Francis Lankenau (1891-1908), Luther College was established on the grounds of St. Paul's to train teachers for St. Paul's and other Black Lutheran schools in New Orleans and beyond. (Luther College closed in 1932, due to the Depression). Rev. Lankenau also helped establish St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mansura, La, in 1898. Rev. Ed. Schmidt ( St. Paul's pastor 1910-1918) helped establish Trinity Lutheran Church , New Orleans, LA, in 1912. (Trinity was closed after Hurricane Katrina). Many other missions were attempted by the pastor and teachers of St. Paul's Lutheran College.
St. Paul's membership experienced tremendous growth under the leadership of the Rev. Erich Wildgrube, who served as St. Paul's pastor from 1922 to 1968. The congregation grew to over 1,000 baptized members. The present church and educational building were erected for St. Paul's in 1965. Meanwhile, St. Paul's Lutheran School's enrollment was declining and the school was closed in 1968. Rev. I. Carl Cameron, a former teacher at the school, was pastor of St. Paul's from 1969 to 1975.
The educational building was rented by Total Community Action (TCA) for the Annette HeadStart Center in 1972, and still operates in our educational building. In 1974, the congregation purchased additional property next to the church to build a community center. Twenty-five years later, in 1999, construction began on St. Paul's Fellowship Center and it was dedicated in the year 2002. The Rev. Dr. James Ertl was pastor of St. Paul's from 1976 to June 30, 2011.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina winds and the flooding, which followed, caused extensive damage to the church, educational building and Fellowship Center. Worship at the church resumed on January 8, 2006, and we used old folding chairs (one of the few things saved from the flooding.) Our organ, candlestick, communion ware, paraments , pulpit Bible and our official records were also saved. Repairs were steadily made to the buildings by our contractors and TCA and the volunteers from Camp Restore and our own congregation. The buildings were all rededicated to God's glory on Nov. 9, 2007.
On August 27, 2010 St.Paul's completed the purchase of the former funeral home property at 1703,1711,1713-15 North Claiborne Avenue and 1621-23 Annette St.