The New York Times tells a story of life after Katrina in New Orleans through the eyes of the faithful, who are attempting to rebuild their lives. Leaving behind the Gray Lady’s usual snarky attitude, Jennifer Medina explores the religious lives of believers who are struggling to regain what used to be everyday routines:
Despite the sparse attendance, Mass at St. Patrick’s was among the signs that life was returning to near normality in some areas of New Orleans. Thousands of residents who had fled Hurricane Katrina began returning to the area this weekend, most of them to homes relatively unscathed.
At St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of the French Quarter, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes offered Mass for the first time since the storm hit more than a month ago. The overflowing crowd included hundreds of local worshipers as well as police officers, members of the National Guard and dozens of other rescue workers.
“Some of us still suffer from shock, from fear, from devastation, from depression, from anger,” Archbishop Hughes said. “But that is not the last word,” he added. “We in New Orleans are a people of faith.”
The article paints an accurate picture so true to the scene that it includes the not so unexpected frustration the parishioners experienced due to the media attention the service received:
News cameras crowded around the church, annoying some of the residents who had come seeking solace. A sign that prohibited taking photographs during Mass was ignored for the day.
“I just want to hear the Word and go home,” said Larry Bastian, 38, who moved to a new apartment after his home in New Orleans East was destroyed. “I have a job here, but no family, no friends. They are all gone. So here I am, tired and lonely.”
Amid all the gloom and doom, I found this forward-looking story a change of pace from what we’ve been seeing since the Gulf Coast was devastated.