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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: Robert Schoen
City: New Olreans LA
Specific
property
affected:
St. Frances Cabrini Church
Comments: Holy Cross and the Archdiocese, under the gross mismanagement of the now discredited school Superintendent Father William Maestri, ave for all practical purposes committed fraud by claiming the Holy Cross campus is 51% damaged as their premise for disrespectfully moving into the Cabrini parish and tearing down its Historic and architecturally irreplaceable church. The damage to the original Holy Cross campus, which is historic, cannot be judged by the same standards of modern construction when it comes to decisions of cost effectiveness in tearing it down after a disaster like Katrina. Surely that school doesn't want the old campus knocked down and it will be restored for far less than the extravagant figure they are trying to get from taxpayers to build a new one somewhere else.

Instead of embracing and showing the proper respect for this important and highly serviceable church, which only a few years ago Holy Cross needed to hold its ring ceremony, they and Maestri have engaged in a contemptible campaign of disinformation and fear mongering telling neighborhood residents they won't get the campus if the church stays. Why? Because they have a grandiose plan for a twenty acre high school campus with a football stadium and other amenities that every other Catholic high school in the city, like Jesuit, De La Salle, Rummel and other will wonder why they are not getting. These other schools, unlike Holy Cross, have served as community anchors for New Orleans families for generations, instead of catering to a commuter community of outsiders who will bring nothing economically to the city. Ask the folks in the ninth ward how much Holy Cross has contributed to their community for an idea of its true economic impact on Gentilly that everyone is touting.

Churches like Cabrini are the glue of a community. It is the churches that bring families back after a disaster. The Archdiocese abandoned the Cabrini parish when it locked the doors shut to its parishioners. Other churches with the same water damage like St. Dominics on Harrison allowed its congregation to go in and help clean it up. Cabrini's and Holy Redemptorist's collective 8 million dollar insurance policy is the reason Maestri decided to cannibalize this parish, to pay off all the underinsured properties the church owns.

The problem is a great architectural work like Cabrini is part of the city's patrimony, and their arrogance did not reckon with oversight from outraged parishioners, architectural historians, or FEMA.

If Holy Cross does not have the grace to accept Cabrini, let it move elsewhere, or better, stay where it has been on its own historic campus instead of asking taxpayers to foot the bill for their arrogant fantasy campus.