|Photo: Eliot Kamentiz for the TIMES PICAYUNE|
“How we built the world’s prison capital.” “Sheriffs and politicians have financial incentives to keep people locked up.” “Louisiana imprisons more people than any nation in the world. 1,619 people per 100,000 residents; Russia—525; Rwanda—450; Iran—333; China—122; Afghanistan—62.” “One in every 86 adults is doing time in Louisiana.” These are headlines from the series that began May 12, 2912 in THE TIMES-PICAYUNE. It helps one answer the question: “Why are we in New Orleans?” This is mission country! You can access this at NOLA.COM but a warning—it is depressing stuff.
During the first week of May, Charles was at Lantern Light, Bob at OHH working on finances, and working from home for the volunteer program, and at Lantern Light doing some repairs for them. As the week began, John visited Ursuline Academy to do their first Discovery Walk.
|Exterior view of the Rebuild Center which houses Lantern Light Ministries|
Saturday, May 5 is the feast day assigned to Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice—we postponed our celebration to Sunday evening and dinner at the new location of ‘Ignatius’ a place named after the lead character in “CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES” [which was written by a St. Henry’s parishioner.] For dessert we visited Caitlyn DeCastro’s favorite sweet shop: SUCRE.
The congregation is marking the 250th anniversary of Edmund Rice’s birth on June 1 in a special way, as we will. More on that when it happens!
During the second week of May, John was at Academy of Our Lady on Tuesday; that evening his cousin, Michael Flanagan visited the community. John spent Wednesday at the School Leadership Center at the Lakeside Campus of the University of New Orleans. Charles and Bob continued as during the first week. Bob is in regular contact with three young men who, even as they are graduating, are also filling out forms, making contacts and getting recommendations for ministries in NOLA next year when they are living in community with us. We look forward to having volunteers again.
At the Blessed Pauline Center, while the parish pays for the grass to be cut and regular visits by an exterminator, the Brothers take care of most other maintenance and have brought back the gardens and added to them. With regular rain and abundant sun this Spring, a fair amount of pruning is a constant necessity. We have had good guidance from neighbors about what to plant and have added to what was here; the general aspect is more attractive to visitors and our neighbors and the work is a nice outlet for us!
During John’s meetings at the School Leadership Center on Wednesday, the group was reminded that the key to successful outcomes in the schools was, as always, the quality of local leadership. One reflection on leadership rang especially true to lived experience: