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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Historic Review of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana with linked PDF attachments "
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Name: Ross Gonzales, Jr.
City: New Orleans, LA
Cabrini Church, 5500 Paris Avenue, 70122
Comments: This issue has obviously been controversial for the last number of months because there are two groups of people who simply cannot see the benefit of having the other group's request fulfilled.

There are members of the SFC community who have been raised in this Church parish. They've grown up sharing their experiences with familiar faces in this Church. Many of them have held many a special occasion in the Church. These people naturally feel a great fondness for the building that many others are quick to denigrate. As bleak as the building may seem, it has added value to these individuals--especially those who look to move back to their neighborhood they've known for so long.

The members of the Holy Cross community share an experience that can be found nowhere else in this country. The Holy Cross School in New Orleans, Louisiana has a legacy that has survived many ups and downs in its history. Over the years, it has produced thousands of refined gentlemen who have gone on to be very successful individuals and contributors to our society. It has transformed many boys into responsible family men. It has been a bedrock in the now-devastated Lower Ninth Ward through the community service and neighborly interactions its faculty and students have had with surrounding residents. Many of these individuals, including myself, were heartbroken to hear the news that HC would be leaving its magnificent campus--regardless of where it was to go. But we understand this: the LIFE and SPIRIT of the institution is much more important than its address. And that is why so many individuals involved with the school are desperate to see it rebuild and restart its normal operations--immediately.

It is foolish to blindly argue for EITHER side of this argument without taking into consideration the well-being of our neighbors. Remember...not too long ago we were ALL wondering what had become of the city we've grown up in and love. Black, white, Asian, male, female...none of this mattered when we were all in a time of crisis TOGETHER.

After all, is not the foundation of a Church its PEOPLE? Is it Moreau Hall or the Administration Building what made Holy Cross so special?...or was it the individuals we came into contact with on a daily basis?

To FEMA: While we sit here and drag this issue through the mud, the only thing it is doing is hurting both parties involved. First of all, it's distracting the people of SFC Church Parish from being able to work on getting back into their homes. It may even be a determinant whether some people choose whether or not to move back to their neighborhood. At the same time, it's hanging in the balance the very life of Holy Cross School. The young men that are already there are struggling to learn while having to deal with all the conditions already mentioned by others. Parents throughout the city are likely hesitant to send their own young ones there because the teachers can't even tell them where they'll be--or IF they'll be--in the next two years.


I understand the ramifications of such a controversial topic, and I appreciate the potential impact it can have on so many people. I am very grateful for the fact that you, FEMA, will at least give the citizens of New Orleans a chance to voice our opinions on this public commenting forum. Now, whether you read them all or not, who knows...

The bottom line is that this issue must be resolved, and NOW.

In my opinion, THE HOLY CROSS SCHOOL SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO MOVE TO THE ST. FRANCES CABRINI CHURCH SITE at 5500 Paris Avenue. As far as demolishing the Church itself, maybe a compromise can be reached (i.e., the construction of a new, FEMA-funded Church of Cabrini ON the site of Holy Cross campus) to satisfy both parties involved. I understand planners have already mapped everything out and are ready to go, but at the rate this process is going...they should have time to design another half-dozen campus layouts.

And to Everybody Else: With both St. Frances Cabrini Church and Holy Cross School being such honorable institutions that serve respectable people of faith...is it not hypocritical--and shameful--to stand here and hurl disparaging remarks at one another over whether 5500 Paris Avenue will be host to a Catholic Church or a Catholic School? Why don't we, as faithful Catholics and New Orleanians, make life a little bit easier on each other--with all the hell we've ALL been through--and give our best damn efforts to work together towards a COMPROMISE?