The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Chambodut, Louis Claude Marie (1821–1880)

Mary Ann Acosta Biography

Louis Claude Marie Chambodut, priest, was born on March 25, 1821, at Just-en-Chevalet, Loire, France. His parents, after giving him the best education their native town could afford, sent him to the Grand Séminaire of Lyons, where he completed with brilliant success a full course of philosophy and theology and was raised to the diaconate in December 1845. When Jean Marie Odin, vicar apostolic of Texas, called at the seminary for recruits, young Chambodut offered his services. On March 25, 1846, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of St. Louis, New Orleans, Louisiana, after which he proceeded to Galveston. He was then sent to Nacogdoches for five years, where he was responsible for practically all East Texas and part of Louisiana. About 1851 he was called to Galveston by Odin, who appointed him his vicar general. In 1853 Chambodut was one of a number of priests who ministered to the sick in the Galveston yellow fever epidemic. He was one of only a few clergymen to survive. The immense diocese covered the whole of Texas and part of Indian Territory, and the bishop spent his time visiting his widely scattered flock, so the administration of the affairs of the diocese rested heavily on the shoulders of the vicar general. To him the bishop now left the task of building the cathedral and episcopal residence. Along with serving as chaplain of the Ursuline Sisters of Galveston, Chambodut collected funds and personally supervised the construction of the initial building of St. Mary's Infirmary (see ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL), St. Mary's Orphanage, and St. Patrick's church in Galveston. In 1856 Chambodut embarked on a speaking tour across Texas to lecture on and answer questions about Catholicism.

In 1861 three Texas regiments went to the Army of Virginia and became famous as Hood's Texas Brigade. One company mustered in Galveston and adjacent counties was made up entirely of French settlers, descendants of the dispersed army of Napoleon. They were all Catholics, and Chambodut was a great favorite with them. After the Civil War Gen. John B. Magruder showed his affection by giving the venerable Father Chambodut the gift of his sword. In 1880 while accompanying Bishop C. M. Dubuis on a trip to San Antonio, Chambodut fell ill; he died on December 7, and was buried at St. Mary's Cathedral in Galveston.

Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Mary Angela Fitzmorris, Four Decades of Catholicism in Texas, 1820–1860 (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1926). Galveston Daily News, December 8, 1880. Interstate Index: A Journal of Progress, June-July 1920.


  • Peoples
  • French
  • Religion
  • Catholic

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mary Ann Acosta, “Chambodut, Louis Claude Marie,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 01, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.