Katrina odyssey brought many blessings for New Orleans priest

Categories: Latest News

August 24, 2015

Houses in New Orleans are seen under water Sept. 5, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. More than a decade after the storm, New Orleans continues to rebuild. (CNS photo/Allen Fredrickson, Reuters) See KATRINA-RETROSPECTIVE Aug. 21, 2015.

Houses in New Orleans are seen under water Sept. 5, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. More than a decade after the storm, New Orleans continues to rebuild. (CNS photo/Allen Fredrickson, Reuters)

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — Like many of his brother priests, Father Dennis Hayes decided to take his chances and stay put as Katrina teased the Louisiana coast, hoping the storm’s Category 5 fury would spare his parish of St. Louise de Marillac in Arabi.

Surely Katrina would veer away at the last minute as so many hurricanes had done before. And even if the storm did cause some damage, thought Father Hayes, at least he would be available to his parishioners.

After successfully weathering Katrina on the second floor of St. Louise’s concrete-and-steel school building — with the Blessed Sacrament, his parish’s sacramental registers and his pet dog Badooki — Father Hayes assumed the worst was over by Monday morning, Aug. 29, 2005.

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