|Bacchus Sunday: Msgr. Engelbrecht, with Colleen LaRocca next to her daughter, Caroline with her son Colt, and Colleen's sisters. Blessed is he among women|
February was cold even in New Orleans. Lauren Zanfardino flew out on February 14th, Valentine’s Day for the Notre Dame Americorps Volunteers retreat in Maryland and from there traveled to Long island for a home visit with a brief stop at Iona College then back to the DC area for other meetings before returning here on the 22nd.
Br. Barry Lynch came in on the 22nd also and despite rainy, cold weather had a chance to view some of the parades on Sunday, the 23rd —most begin or pass nearby and parades increase in number as one approaches Mardi Gras. Barry also visited ministry sites and met with the Brothers community before leaving on the 27th.
On February 27th, twenty one young people and their counselors from Boys Hope Girls Hope, a residence for young people who cannot live at home, used the Blessed Pauline Room as a meeting place while viewing parades. Lisa Taylor, the Director, worked with Br. John when she was Superintendent for Catholic High Schools.
|Masked parade goers set out from the BPC--these are friends of St. Henry's|
On the 27th, Catherine Drennan and Molly Sherry, alumnae volunteers, arrived for a Mardi Gras visit from Boston. Lots of old memories got trotted out. Catherine is beginning work with the Greater Boston Food Bank in their development office while completing a degree at Northeastern, while Molly is working with the Avon Foundation on breast cancer awareness.
On Bacchus Sunday, Br. Bob and the volunteers, Erika, Travis and Lauren, hosted a pancake breakfast for alumnae/i Americorps volunteers, Presentation and Holy Faith Sisters and a Daughter of Charity.
|Martin LaRocca has a fitness center--everybody gets a mask|
Downstairs, Br. John welcomed Fr. Henry Engelbrecht, the last Pastor of St. Henry’s Parish and a number of friends of St. Henry’s who use the Pauline Room as a gathering place—lots of good food. A group of young children arrived and looked for their grandmother who had already left for the first of three parades. Bur they knew she had been there because they found her fried chicken—they ran off happy, clutching the chicken. Br. John stayed behind—said the chicken was delicious. The chocolate chunk brownies were not too bad either.
|Colt and his granddad, Anthony LaRocca|
Monday [Lundi Gras] and Tuesday [Mardi Gras] were cold and rainy but the parades were well attended, and peaceful. For those who have to contend with changed or impossible traffic patterns, Ash Wednesday came as a relief.
Mardi Gras and the weeks leading up to it put strains on Lantern Light and places like it that deal with the shifting homeless population and street people. The cold in New Orleans caused some deaths among this marginal population despite real efforts to get everyone shelter.
Caitlyn DeCastro, was here [from Boston] for her sister’s wedding on Saturday the 8th. Caitlyn studied for an advanced degree at Northeastern University and is now Program Director at the Regional Poison Control Center of Massachusetts and Rhode Island at Boston Children’s Hospital. She came by and visited with Br. John and Br. Bob on Ash Wednesday. She was in our first group in 2008-9 with Vincent and Kyle.
Lauren Zanfardino, whose school was closed for the week, took the chance to leave on Ash Wednesday to accompany a friend to St. Louis. Rumor has it she got all the way to Minnesota but she had not returned as of this writing. Who knows? Warmer weather and a sunny day marked the beginning of Daylight Savings Time on March 9th.
|Colt Davis hosting the post mortem on Mardi Gras at Theo's Pizzeria on Magazine Street around the corner from the Blessed Pauline Center.|