Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Big Easy!

Today is our second day in "The Big Easy." We arrived in New Orleans yesterday afternoon and after checking into our St. Charles St. Hotel next to Lafayette Park, we programmed Karen, my "GPS" unit, to direct us to the Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord in East New Orleans. As usual, she was right on the mark in getting us around the maze of highways and back streets. We arrived at the church, which we have been supporting in these post Katrina days, in time for 4:00pm Mass. We had called Fr. MichaelJoseph Vinh Nguyen ahead of time to arrange a rendezvous. He introduced Ray and me to the community at the beginning of Mass and we received a big round of applause from the folks gathered to celebrate. The church was very beautifully laid out and smelled freshly painted - because it was!

After Mass, while Fr. MichaelJoseph worked with several Confirmation candidates, Glen, a life long member of ROOL, gave us the grand tour of the plant. He explained with great enthusiasm and passion how, inspired by Fr. MichaelJoseph's leadership, the parish has been working very hard to get the parish back in working order. He showed us the high water mark on the Parish Center - just part of the four feet of water that covered everythiong.
Because of where the parish is located, their highest priority is to get their school fully functioning. We toured the newly painted classrooms which have been in use since the beginning of the school as well as the additional 10 classrooms and pre-school building that will open in the coming school year.

It was a fascinating tour which ended in the rectory where we had a glass of wine in anticipation of dinner at a local restaurant on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Fr. MichaelJoseph and Glen and his wife, Maria and another couple joined us for a delightful meal in the shoreline restaurant. On the way to the restaurant we drove through some of the areas which got really damaged by the hurricane's waters. In fact, the restaurant had only reopened three weeks ago. The evening ended with Ray and I taking home a delicious, large portion of Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce.

Today we began our second day here with a trip up the Mississippi River on the Riverboat Natchez. This stream boat is the ninth one to bear the name. All have plied the waters of this great 2300 mile long river. It was a great experience and quite a thrill to sail upstream on this mighty giant.

Time is beginning to run out. We have one more day here in New Orleans and then it's off to Biloxi to see what the State of Mississippi is like.

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