Catholic Charities in New Orleans helps 13,000 oil spill victims

Catholic Charities clients have their picture taken with Spike Lee. Credit:
Catholic Charities clients have their picture taken with Spike Lee. Credit:


Though the valiant work of Catholic Charities in New Orleans was going on before the BP oil spill, their work is being noted across the nation, including with the appearance of their clients in a new Spike Lee film.

Catholic Charities has set up an oil spill response center in New Orleans to assist those who have been impacted by the oil slick in the gulf. Some of the people who are receiving their assistance are Vietnamese-American fishermen who have been left unable to ply their trade. The fishermen are also going to appear in a new film directed by Spike Lee.

Lee was in the New Orleans area while making a documentary about how the area is recovering from Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city five years ago. He is including the impact of the oil spill in his project.

Lee had the chance to interact with Catholic Charities clients, as well as volunteers from around the nation. One such volunteer was Thao Tran. Tran is Assistant to the Mayor of Seattle, Wash. He spent a week in New Orleans helping out at Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation.

“It was my honor to come and work with Catholic Charities to aid those in need from the BP spill,” wrote Tran. “I took and gained more from this experience than what I was able to give.  I hope that I am welcome back.”

Catholic Charities is currently seeking volunteers and donations to help assist those disenfranchised by the oil spill. Since May 1, the organization has given emergency assistance to more than 13,000 individuals. They have given out $230,900 to families in the form of food vouchers, as well as distributed numerous cans of baby formula and boxes of diapers. Crisis counseling has also been offered to 2,296 people so far.

Catholic Charities in New Orleans reports that there is no end in sight to the fallout from the oil spill.

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