A delegation of academics from the University of Notre Dame toured the devastation of Lakeview and St. Bernard Parish on Wednesday, looking for a way to put the university’s brainpower to work to help the New Orleans Catholic Church rebuild its ministries.
The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, led a group of seven faculty and administrators that included an engineer, an architect and the dean of the business school.
Like many others around the country, people at Notre Dame were deeply moved by images of destruction beamed out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Jenkins said. The university’s social justice arm, the Center for Social Concerns, proposed an effort to reach out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans to explore ways Notre Dame might help.
On Wednesday morning, the group visited the gutted interior of St. Dominic Church on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. The tour later stopped at St. Maurice Church in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Louise deMerillac in hard-hit St. Bernard.
They were to continue on to meet with Archbishop Alfred Hughes in Baton Rouge, where the archdiocese has set up temporary offices since Hurricane Katrina.
Over the next few days or weeks, the university is hoping to develop some ways to help the archdiocese, Jenkins said.
“We’ll go back and put our heads together,” said Carolyn Woo, dean of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. “I’m sure there’s some way to plug into the relief effort.”