During December we had a group from Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati: 12 young women and their campus minister who just happens to be a man. They were a delightful group and they worked hard during the day and had fun here at night.
On the 2nd of January we welcomed the service group of young women. We had twelve young women and four sisters and two lay women - a total of 18 which made for a very full house and a bit of doubling up. It was a good several days. The work crew went to the rebuilding project on Sat., Mon. and Tues. and we had a few other activities in between. Sunday we went to Mass at St. Joseph's church, the Vincentian priests are pastors there. It was the feast of St. Elizabeth Seton, foundress of the Sisters of Charity in the USA. She is also the first American-born saint. After lunch we headed for the French Quarter so the group could see what is there plus seeing the Katrina exhibit at the Museum. We ended that day at Mulate's a Cajun restaurant which also had Cajun music and dancing which we joined. It was a good non-work day.
The 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans was celebrated last weekend. We spent Thursday at the Chalmette Battle Field where we learned the history of that battle. We had lunch ata local NOLA kind of place where hot pepper is part of every menu item. The antacids are having to work overtime!
I continue to work with the Peace Basketball League which will have its inaugural games on the 24th of this month. We had a couple of "open gym" opportunities in December. We had 25-30 young men each time. Our target "audience" is young Black men who are at risk, ages 18-25. Hopefully we will get 50 to 70 young men. The coaches are recruiting. We will also find out their needs and see if we can't match them to existing services - such as counselling, job training, education opportunities. All this in hope that we will be able to have some peace makers from among their number and perhaps fewer homicides. The majority of homicide victims in NOLA are young black men. Already seven homicides since Jan. 1 - and it's just the 15th of the month.
Happy the rest of January! We have already had one Mardi Gras parade - for St. Joan of Arc while the girls were here. I am looking forward to seeing some more.