I haven’t posted for much of the past week, thanks to various plagues running through the house (Toddler=Petri Dish) and a family visit to New Orleans. I was hoping to post from there, but family visits being what they are…
It was encouraging to see the French Quarter and the trendy neighborhoods doing weel–apparently. Lots of conventions and conferences, including one my wife was attending. But what of the rest of the city? Venture just a bit beyond the central environs and Katrina’s legacy endures. Desolation, abandoned homes and neighborhoods. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has taken a major hit, closing parishes and schools and essentially reconfiguring from the ground up (what there is of the ground) one of the oldest Catholic communities in the U.S.
Pre-Katrina I had been to a couple of outlying parishes that my in-laws attend, including the terrific parish of St. Joseph the Worker. But I was able to attend mass last Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Louis, in the French Quarter. Pretty full house at 9am, fine service, a remarkable sanctuary. You may recognize the facade as the backdrop to George Bush’s infamous post-Katrina face-saving attempt. I’d counsel visiting the church for more sacred, rather than profane, reasons.
On the other hand, as soon as mass ended, congregants around me–most dressed in the gold-and-black of the Saints colors–started talking about the game against the Falcons that afternoon and their hopes (prayers?) that the Saints would “finally get it going,” as one lady near me said. Well, it worked. Saints won. Good game, too.
Finally, speaking of sacred and profane (and the two are never so comingled as in New Orleans), I’d never given Brad Pitt (nor Angelina) much credit as humanitarians, or perhaps much credit at all. That could change. A celebrity’s motivations will always be challenged, but their commitment to the city is impressive, as are the houses he is getting built. Lots of people talk, but Pitt is doing something. Check out the designs here and here.