Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans announced Thursday that his archdiocese is indefinitely closing more than 30 badly damaged churches, permanently closing seven, and consolidating dozens of parishes and elementary schools.
The archdiocese said its plan is based on $84 million in uninsured losses after Hurricane Katrina, major damages to nearly one-third of its 1,200 buildings, and a significant drop in the local population, reported the Associated Press.
Before the hurricane last August, the archdiocese included 491,000 Catholics in 142 parishes. But six months after Katrina, 35 parishes have no worship life whatever, reported the AP.
Plans include the creation of six centralized elementary schools. Several parishes will be consolidated. In New Orleans, for example, 24 damaged church parishes will be consolidated into 11. In addition, the archdiocese will set up seven additional community centers dispensing storm relief. Previously, only 10 centers were operation.