From 1842-1844, occasional services were held by a missionary priest, The Reverend John Burk. The Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk, also known as the Fighting Bishop, returned in 1844, and on May 5, confirmed 8 people and officially organized the first congregation. St. James Episcopal Church was received into the Diocese of Louisiana on June 15, 1844, and the parish was incorporated on March 6, 1848.
The building of the first church was delayed for several reasons, but the cornerstone was finally laid on All Saints Day 1851. This building was consecrated on June 13, 1854 by Bishop Polk.