Passion about New Orleans
My name is Carlos Navarro, and I was asked to be a guest blogger for Campus Bread at the National Gathering. Alas, time was so tight that I did not get a chance to log in and write a piece. So I am now finally writing a piece that I thought about posting but never got to it.
One of the frustrations of the National Gathering was our inability to choose more than one workshop (er. convesation space) at a time. One conversation space I would have loved to attend was the one about Katrina, since New Orleans was my home for eight years. I have very fond memories of my days at Warren Easton High School and then Loyola University.
In lieu of attending the larger event, I had the opportunity to chat about the Katrina situation with Helen Ojario, a Carmelite sister who was the lone representative from New Orleans at the National Gathering, although there were other attendees from Louisiana.
I had met Sister Helen before when I visited the New Orleans Bread for the World offices to see my old friends Sister Jane Remson and Sister Blaise Fernando. So Sister Helen knows about my connection to New Orleans.
Against this backdrop, Helen and I were chatting at breakfast on Sunday about how Katrina affected her and fellow Carmelite sisters and their home, which is not far from the area where the levees were breached. The Carmelite sisters were ordered to evacuate to higher ground in nearby Lafayette, so they were away from the city when the waters filled the streets.
When Helen and Jane and Blaise finally came back to New Orleans after several days, they were heartbroken by the disaster they saw before them. Helen said she had experienced typhoons in the Philippines, but none of those disasters had the emotional effect on her as Katrina. Yet, the homecoming was bittersweet. Helen, who has lived in New Orleans for several years, said she was "glad to be home," even with the city in shambles.
Then Helen and I started talking about how New Orleans gets in your blood. Despite poverty and many other problems, the one quality that prevails in New Orleans is the sense of neighborhood.
Then I realized that I didn't need to attend the larger "conversation space." I had my own private conversation space with Sister Helen.
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