Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday April 20

First of all, sorry for not posting this last night......we were all exhausted after our travels.

We got in to New Orleans in the late morning. We took two planes, and the second was so small that Fr. Pratt looked like Alice in Wonderland walking down the isle. When we got to New Orleans, we went to Xavier University and visited the Institute for Black Catholic Studies. We had lunch in the school cafeteria and then we all went to Corpus Christi and slept.

We visited the Lower 9th Ward. It looks much better than it did three years ago, when I first saw it. There are new houses being built in different areas, but most of it is still empty. (If we can find a better internet connection we will put up pictures).

Fr. Pratt took us to see Congo Square which was the only place in the South where slaves were allowed to drum. It was a meeting place for all the slaves of the area and they would meet and celebrate their own culture. We also discussed the slave exchange. It was interesting to learn that all the slaves were baptised before they were sold "just in case they had souls". We learned that the church had spoken out against slavery since the 1500s, and the morality of slavery was a constant conflict between Rome and the local bishops. (Think about this: There were black catholics serving as slaves in Florida before the British made it to Jamestown).

It was a very busy day for all of us, and everyone was drained by the end of it. I know that for Mike and me it was great to be back in New Orleans and see the differences compared to last year.

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