In the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina, the Archdiocese of New Orleans is trying to
consolidate its resources as it deals with $84 million in uninsured
losses. The archdiocese is only expecting 65 percent of its pre-Katrina
population to return in the next two years. As a result, seven parishes
are being closed or merged and the reopening of another 23 parishes is
canon law, the closing of a parish does not necessitate the closing of
a church. One parish can have several churches or places of worship.
said this assurance of Sunday masses wasn’t enough. They officially
appealed the decision Thursday. They also held a standing room-only
mass Sunday, with music provided by well-known artists Ellis and
Branford Marsalis, in an effort to convince the archdiocese not to
close the historic parish. Even non-parishioners came out to support
the appeal. The archdiocese, however, told the Associated Press that it
had no plans to reverse its decision.
was founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color. It was a parish
of mostly Italian immigrants in the early 1900s but became a
predominantly black church once again in the 1960s.
According to the AP, about half of the 350 pre-Katrina families that belonged to the parish have returned so far.
American parishioners of St. Augustine’s Church in New Orleans are
upset that their parish is slated to close today. The historic black
parish will be closed and its territory merged with another parish in
the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But archdiocesan officials have said the
church will remain open and continue to welcome members of the
community for Sunday mass.