New Orleans and Traditional Catholicsm

I can’t help but notice on the forums over the years that there are a great many of us who grew up in our beloved city under the wings of HMC. I can’t help but notice that there are a whole bunch of folks who think that NO is sin city central and that God was justified in “sending Katrina”. I’m gonna leave it at that.

What’s going on now is not the city that I grew in which I grew up. I don’t think that people have an inkling of what it meant to me to see St. Anthony’s on Canal St. where I was baptized under water. Or St. Dominic’s in Lakeview where I went to many a Sunday Mass. Or to drive throughout the city and see all the parishes that I can remember vibrant, living churches sitting in destruction. And it’s not just us, we all know how connected we were to the Mississippi Gulf Coast…St. Staninslaus in ruins…St. Michael in Biloxi and on an on.

I grew up in a Catholic city. I am tired of being the lone voice trying to explain that Bourbon St. is not NO. I know y’all are out there…give us your thoughts.

What I remember MOST about visiting New Orleans as a child (a BAPTIST child) was Jackson Square and Saint Louis Cathedral. It was beautiful, inside and out.

Sin can be found everywhere, Brotherhrolf. If Katrina was divine retribution, then I’d better move.

I’ll be at St. Gabriel all weekend in Gentilly Woods. Website doesn’t give the impression of a traditional parish:rolleyes: but…everyone needs help.

I pointed that out my friend, I really did. I know full well that there is a Las Vegas that is not “Las Vegas” just as well as I know there is “New Orleans” and then there is “New Orleans”.
It just so happened that DW and I were celebrating our wedding aniversary at a conference hosted in NO by my state agency. We went to Mass at the Cathedral and then had breakfast at Brennan’s. We will always have that memory…
My New Orleans is not Bourbon St…my New Orleans is family and HMC.

I went to 8th grade for my high school which was in the French Quarter. We used the school building for St. Augustine in the Treme…which made national news during Katrina. This is an historically black Catholic parish. Across the street from the church is a funeral parlor. The Brothers that taught me would dismiss the entire three classrooms of all-male students when there was a funeral. We would stand along the fence line and pray for the soul of the deceased as the brass band played “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”. Not Bourbon St…not by a long shot.

I remember that the sisters always rode the buses for free, a promise that the city always kept for the work they did in the epidemics years ago. bars closing at midnight on Ash Wednesday so people could make it to Church for ashes I remember going for ashes and having to wait in line for over an hour due to the crush. St Josephs altars and carrying a bean in my wallet. Going to a funeral at St Roch Cemetary and visiting the chapel and marveling at all the crutches, wheelchairs and other assorted things left behind by those cured there. The Perpetual Novena to St Jude on N. Rampart street and the prayers from the Discalced Carmelites a few blocks up the same street. The Rosary being said every night on WWL radio.Living in a neighborhood that had 6 catholic Churches, 8 schools, an orphanage, 5 convents and a cloistered monastery within a 12 block radius. Checking the boiled crabs to see if they had the little Virgin Mary inside so you would know whether or not to eat it. Asking the Priests for blessing when you saw them on the street wherever it was the 3 big festival days, St Patricks, St Josephs and Mardi Gras, all religious based, people giving you Holy Cards for a birthday present and going to Midnight Mass on Christmas with the Churches lit up with candles and praying to Our Lady of Prompt Succor.

No New Orleans wasn’t all Bourbon Street and booze and partys. It got hijacked along the way and turned into something that it had never been before. I wish that everyone here could have seen the New Orleans that we remember so well.

Wow.

I’m sorry, what about boiled crabs and the Blessed Mother?


Palmas—you made me homesick. Homesick for a way of life–I did not get to experience.

Ps. Why the bean in the wallet.

My is from NO and I am from the Northshore in Saint Tammany Parish. People always think bad about NO. Serioulsy. I find such extremely common among North Louisisanians. After Katrina hit people were saying tear down “New Orleans!” at school. I replied New Orleans used to provide iver 60% of the state’s income! Then they said that it does not anymore. I was thinking "That is why you rebuild IT! You think all of the bussiness is going to come to Shreveport?! No offense, but don’t make me laugh. This just shows that a lot of people do not like New Orleans. I do not kno why this has happened. God speed.

St Josephs Altars are elaborate and made by Italians, Sicilians mostly, to honor a promise made for help given to them by St Joseph during a famine over 100 years ago. New Orleans had a lot of Italians. The Altars are made of bread and pastries and are beautiful affairs. Around St Josephs day, a big day in New Orleans, people that have them will run ads in the paper or church bulletins saying where their Altar will be. Visitors go, pay a nickel or quarter or whatever, not much, go in say a few prayers, maybe a rosary, admire the altar and have a few bites of the food it is made from. As you leave, you will be given a small bag with some food and a dried fava bean. You carry that bean in your wallet and it will bring you good luck.:thumbsup:

The photo is of a fairly typical altar.

In reply to JKirk about the Blessed Mother and the crabs, well, thats kind of a kid thing really. In New Orleans, you eat a lot of boiled crabs. Lots of them. When you pop them open, if its a female, there is an egg sack which is yellow and looks like a small statue of the Blessed Mother:) . You would not eat anything from the inside of those crabs. Now in true kid fashion, some kids, Protestants mainly, would eat the insides:eek:


These must be wonderful memories for you to have.

Yeah, yeah they are. Its one of the reasons I miss things so much. Catholicism was so distinct, so unique and so pervasive, it was everywhere. You didn’t have to look for hours to find a Church, you didn’t have to try to find a daily Mass cause there weren’t many offered, all the Churches had them. Everybody abstained from meat on Fridays even in the Public schools… Heck in school there was never meat on Fridays just like there was always red beans and rice on Mondays.

Yea, I miss it. I miss it a lot.


At least—no one will ever take your memories.

Would you guys from NOLA mind explaining how they fit so many people into those vaults that only have spaces for two people?..:stuck_out_tongue:

I grew up Baptist. I fell in love with Joan of Arc in 5th grade , the Virgin Mary a little later, and I seem to be the only person I know, Catholic or no, who LIKES Leo X . Still, as a Baptist born and bred I deeply mistrusted The Catholic church.
Anyway, I went to NO last year right after the hurricane to clean up. I had never been to LA before. Everyone else was taking pictures of the 9th ward. I was taking pictures of everything Catholic I saw. I went through 6 disposable cameras. There were many , many reasons why I chose the Holy Catholic Church, and it was many years in coming, but THE thing that did it was my job took me past The Academy of the Sacred Heart on St. Charles every day. One day nothing was happening so I walked over there and just stared at it for the longest time, longer than a 38 year old man should, but I didn’t care. It was SO BUEATIFUL ! But that wasn’t really it either. It has been a hard, care-worn life. I can recite Shakespeare but I wound up in the gutter, I went to jail and was labelled a felon for life over nothing. Nobody believes me , but I was a member of the Communist party DURING the cold war because I wanted to make a better world. Yes, yes, we produced a nightmare but I really meant well. Or I think I did. I don’t know. I wanted to get married and have kids. That wasn’t my fate to be. But to visualize what I would have wanted a daughter of mine to have - and there you have it in living three demensional color ; The Academy of the Sacred Heart on St. Charles.
I can’t articulate what I thought and felt any better than that.
I came home feeling the Catholic Church IS THE ONLY church. I can have no other.
If I manage to accumulate anything before I die I will give it all to that School.
And you can’t say anything bad about New Orleans to me.

By the way, I NEVER WENT to the French quarter. Apparently that was a shame, apparently they have a great statue of Joan of Arc that I could have spent a whole roll of film on.

did you know that the krewe de vieux blasphemed the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus and the Catholic Church? (this is a very offensive link). i believe that God punished New Orleans for this with Katrina which incidently means cleansing.

it’s really sad what has become of that city. it’s a place where people go to party and throw up and trash. it had such a fantastic catholic culture too–so many neighborhoods, so many churches. now it’s falling further into violence and disarray.

they have a huge gay culture and burbon street is nothing but strip clubs and pronography. it has really gotten warped there in the last decade. to top it off, they have plenty of occultism and satanism.

it’s full of some of the worst and best people. st. joan of arc is one of the patron saints of the city. i wish we could take it back and kick all the gays, satanists and pornographers back to france.

How far gone is NO from its Catholic roots? discounting the bourbon street stuff.

sad to hear it though, i love reading all of the above stories!

Palmas85 & Brotherolf, thank you for sharing your memories with us. How wonderful to grow up in a truly Catholic city with all the wonderful traditions! Beautiful!:slight_smile:


I second that.

It’s gone a long way, although there are still pockets here and there. A lot of what had been traditional New Orleans culture has moved out into the surrounding Parishes along with the people that left the city, and the citys population dropped considerably starting in the early 70’s and continuing… That was true even before Katrina pretty much wiped everything out. A lot of the institutions have closed, others still remain, but the community is much reduced in size… For example many of the the students that attend the citys Catholic Schools don’t live in the city but rather drive in, attend classes and leave. Same for some of the neighborhood churches.

I would say though that even in it current state it is still probably more Catholic in culture then are most other cities.

I’m jealous. I was raised in Oklahoma when Catholics were about 4% of the population.

My folks lived in and were married in New Orleans in 1944 and talked of NO often on how wonderful it was. For some reason, as a family we never went to New Orleans, but when my sister got married in 1965 they went to N.O. for a second honeymoon. After that they went back every few years. They loved the jazz and the culture. The food and the people drew them back year after year. After my dad died (at a young 58), mom would jump in the car and drive down to the Crescent City for a week or two a couple of times a year.

My mother wanted her 80th birthday celebrated in New Orleans so she jumped in her car and drove to “her” hotel in the French Quarter and invited the whole family down for a big party. So I made my first trip to New Orleans on Aug. 25, 2005. Family gathered from all over the country. San Diego to North Carolina, Atlanta and Oklahoma City, driving and flying, we arrived on Wednesday to Friday for the big blowout at Tujagues {sp} . Sue and I did get the chance to walk over to St. Louis Cathedral. What a magnificent church. We also scouted out the location of St. Patricks for the TLM that we would attend on Sunday, before heading for home. Alas, by Saturday afternoon, the manager of the Chateau Hotel called us all together and told us to get out of town. She said she had never left N.O. because of hurricane warnings, but she was leaving for Katrina. Needless to say, we loaded up on Saturday and left New Orleans on Saturday, August 27, 2005.

So my quick impression of New Orleans? I had never been is a city that had so many Catholic churches, schools and convents. Even in the French Quarter, you would turn a corner and there would be a convent or a church. A very unique city that played hard and played to the tourist, but get out of the quarter and it was a city like most any other. People mowing their yards, going to work, playing ball with their kids, you know just the normal things that go on in every other city.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.