A church Katrina destroyed is rebuilt with love and faith - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

A church Katrina destroyed is rebuilt with love and faith

Our Lady of Lourdes after Katrina (FOX 8 File Photo) Our Lady of Lourdes after Katrina (FOX 8 File Photo)

The bells of Our Lady of Lourdes survived Katrina. The sound from the Slidell church symbolized God's power to lifetime parishioner Shawn McManus.
 
"When the wind was just right, we could hear the bells and that was about 3 miles away," he said.

There is an empty lot where the old Our Lady of Lourdes Church stood, a constant reminder of what Katrina did. Michael Guidry, the church custodian, remembers driving up to the devastation after the storm.

"When I pulled up, the stained glass window was in the parking lot and the roof was gone. It's like someone chopped the top of the church off," Guidry said.

The bell tower was leaning badly, and Guidry says the bells were taken out of the tower until they could be reinstalled in the new church. The school was still standing.Stephen Nichols is vice principal.

"There was mud everywhere. We found turtles and fish in the mud and it was really scary," Nichols said. "I had heard through the grapevine people were wondering if they could go back because there was nothing left."

Guidry said they didn't give up.

 "We were going to persevere and come back," he said.

The first Mass after Katrina was in the street outside the demolished church. It was later moved to the damaged cafeteria until the church could be rebuilt. That took the community pulling together.

"It was a little over $3 million that had to be raised privately in the community and a lot of sacrifice to do that," McManus said..
 
Guidry said the church was rededicated in May of 2010, and the gym was completed a few years later. The new church was built down the street on land the church owned. The altar and the bricks in front are all part of the old church that surrendered to the wind. It took years for the old bells to be restored - one of the last pieces of recovery that helps parishioners move forward.

"Once we heard the bells going again, it really rang home for me," McManus said.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • 10th anniversary of KatrinaRemembering KatrinaMore>>

  • Chris Cameron describes Hurricane Katrina experience

    Chris Cameron describes Hurricane Katrina experience

    Wednesday, August 26 2015 11:21 PM EDT2015-08-27 03:21:40 GMT
    Wednesday, August 26 2015 11:22 PM EDT2015-08-27 03:22:06 GMT
    A glimpse of the aftermath of Hurricane KatrinaA glimpse of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
    On August 29th 2005, tragedy struck when Hurricane Katrina made landfall.Former Albany State basketball coach Chris Cameron was then an associate coach for Xavier University in New Orleans.He and his head coach made a split decision to evacuate the day before the storm struck the city."We was having a debate about it, said the Albany sports hall-of-fame inductee. "But when he called me that morning and said we have to go ahead and leave, I was stuck.more>>
    On August 29th 2005, tragedy struck when Hurricane Katrina made landfall.Former Albany State basketball coach Chris Cameron was then an associate coach for Xavier University in New Orleans.He and his head coach made a split decision to evacuate the day before the storm struck the city."We was having a debate about it, said the Albany sports hall-of-fame inductee. "But when he called me that morning and said we have to go ahead and leave, I was stuck.more>>
  • Katrina couple renews vows 10 years after storm

    Katrina couple renews vows 10 years after storm

    Monday, September 7 2015 11:30 AM EDT2015-09-07 15:30:49 GMT
    Monday, September 7 2015 1:22 PM EDT2015-09-07 17:22:38 GMT
    Todd and Jennifer Jackson renew their vows 10 years after Katrina changed their wedding plans.Todd and Jennifer Jackson renew their vows 10 years after Katrina changed their wedding plans.
    The couple featured in Seven on Your Side's Katrina Untold: Ten Years Later who had their wedding plans turned upside down because of the storm renewed their vows this weekend for their 10 year anniversary.more>>
    The couple featured in Seven on Your Side's Katrina Untold: Ten Years Later who had their wedding plans turned upside down because of the storm renewed their vows this weekend for their 10 year anniversary.more>>
  • Mississippi couple marries in Katrina rubble

    Monday, August 24 2015 12:16 PM EDT2015-08-24 16:16:36 GMT
    Monday, August 24 2015 12:39 PM EDT2015-08-24 16:39:55 GMT
    Jennifer and Todd Jackson held their wedding days after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.Jennifer and Todd Jackson held their wedding days after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.
    “Everyone has a Katrina story. Ours happens to be our wedding story, but everyone has their Katrina story,” said Jennifer Jackson while recounting the events that led up to her wedding.more>>
    “Everyone has a Katrina story. Ours happens to be our wedding story, but everyone has their Katrina story,” said Jennifer Jackson while recounting the events that led up to her wedding.more>>
Powered by Frankly