“So 3% of the value of the whole building is the deductible,” he said. “For instance, for my school, my church, I think it's valued at $15 million. So that means I have a $450,000 deductible before any insurance kicks in.”
For Nalty, the school and its students hold a very special place in his heart, and he hopes that they will be able to return to the school before too long.
“I do a lot of different things in the archdiocese. I teach at the seminary. I've got three churches. Quite possibly, the most important thing I do is the school,” he said, blinking back tears.
The school was founded in 1852, and serves students from age two through seventh grade. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, St. Stephen Catholic School became a “central school” that took in students whose schools were destroyed.
“Now our school is about 98% African-American and they are from the poorest demographic of the city,” said Nalty. “My principal is a rockstar and these kids are all on scholarship.”
The school is “such a family,” said Nalty. Students are brought to campus early for breakfast, and stay afterwards for aftercare. For the last four years, every graduate has been admitted into a Catholic high school in New Orleans, with a scholarship.
“They go to school in this family community. We have Mass every Friday,” he said. “The kids are actively engaged. They know their faith.”
The opportunities provided to St. Stephen’s students “means the trajectory of their lives has been changed.”
“Their chances are exponentially different from their neighbors that go to the public schools,” said Nalty. “It's an incredibly important ministry to me. I just love these kids. They're just, [the storm damage is] just hard.”
“But anyway, you know, well… We'll get through it.”
Anyone wishing to support the rebuilding effort can do so here.
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Christine Rousselle is a former DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. Prior to working at CNA, she was the managing web editor of Townhall.com; she has a BA in political science from Providence College.