August 31, 2005



I've heard quite a few people talking about this story. I guess every tragedy needs it's lore to help focus hope:

The French Quarter, the high ground of New Orleans, was one of the few parts of the city with minimal flooding. But wind damage was everywhere.

At St. Louis Cathedral, where the large outdoor clock was stopped at 6:25 a.m. Monday, an alabaster statue of Jesus with his arms upraised -- called Touchdown Jesus by some locals -- survived with only a broken thumb.

Surrounding the statue were giant branches of live oak and magnolia trees uprooted by the hurricanes.

"I am not a religious man. I am a pagan, actually. But seeing Jesus still standing was awesome," said Ken Hallober, a Melrose Park native who works in New Orleans selling statues and making Mardi Gras beads.

Hallober fled the city before the hurricane but came back after the storm, swimming through floodwaters under the Interstate 10 overpass to get back to his French Quarter apartment, which only lost its shutters.

And another:

Arnold Steinbrenner, 47, was riding out the storm in his second-floor apartment next door when bricks began falling into his building. He said a woman who was in the collapsed structure emerged unscathed.

"They were in the process of renovating it," he said. "It was coming along. It just didn't get there fast enough."

In the courtyard behind the 278-year-old St. Louis Cathedral, two massive trees toppled, their roots pulling up a 30-foot section of iron fence. Carrie Hanselman marveled at how the branches straddled a marble statue of Jesus Christ but, miraculously, knocked off only the thumb and forefinger on its outstretched left hand.

"He was right in the middle of it," the pastry chef said. "Jesus and his mother were watching out for us. I had that candle burning all night."

Salad Wife and I were in New Orleans last September and saw this park as we were walking back from Court of Two Sisters restaurant. We stopped and marveled at how beautiful the park was.


Most people photograph the front of the church - and we did - but there was something peaceful the way the sun was peeking through the trees that day.

Sad to think that such a lush sanctuary is now destroyed.

Posted by Jeff at August 31, 2005 07:28 AM | TrackBack
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