In memoriam ~ Archbishop Philip M. Hannan (May 20, 1913 – September 29, 2011

Archbishop Hannan ‘The Archbishop” of New Orleans, passed away last night around 3:00 a.m. God rest him.

The official obituary from the Archdiocese of New Orleans is here.
Hannan after Betsy
More obits and articles here, here and here.

And, here.

The Archbishop, as he was fondly called even years after his retirement had arrive in New Orleans mere weeks after Hurricane Betsy had flooded the city.

He was always an ardent supporter of the faith, and a tireless advocate for the poor, the needy, and just about everyone else as well

After Katrina, while much of the leadership of the diocese chose to relocate to Baton Rouge, he remained on the Northshore and was heard to say, after slamming a phone down, “I should still be in charge!” He was found walking accross the 24 mile Causeway over Lake Pontchartrain to help on the devastated South Shore, as his car had either broken or run out of gas. He had stopped at a Wal-Mart to buy boots so he could get through the water.

Everyone in New Orleans has many stories to tell about Archbishop Hannan, for he was a great man.


He was a tireless advocate of the poor, the hungry, the destitute, here with a ship leaving with supplies for Bangladesh.

Hannan in Service Duties

He served as a Chaplain in WWII.

Hannan at JFK funeral

Gave the eulogy for John F. Kennedy’s funeral.

Hannan at Jackie O funeral

And buried Jacqueline Onassis.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Storm Clouds of the Deep South

Fair Setup

My new book, Storm Clouds of the Deep South, will be a fascinating retrospective of the amazing storm clouds which always seem to be gathering around here.

Fair Setup

Ok, just kidding. Fair Setup continued all day today with the setup of the rides. Later in the afternoon this storm started blowing in.

Fair Setup

These guys were taking it in stride; they really enjoy this setup business.

They were also probably enjoying the cooler air which was flowing down from the tops of the storm.

Fair Setup

I’m always amazed by cloud formations. I’m also amazed at the ride setup, but look at those clouds!

Fair Setup

I know I’ll be riding the Ferris Wheel all weekend long. (Actually, and to be honest, it would break. My car would plummet down mercilessly from the heights as those below me cursed my ongoing diet.)

Fair Setup

Fair Setup is an interesting process, everything has to be leveled out, and tested over and over again.

Which is certainly a good thing of course.

The great news is that all of this is just a front: the weather will be cool and clear for the fair this weekend.

Should be a great time!

Cheniere Caminada

destroyed home at caminada cheminadeSo I started looking around today for stories on the Great Hurricane of 1893 at Cheniere Caminada, a part of my interest in vanishing southern Louisiana. Here’s some of what I found:

From the de rigeur Wikipedia Story:

As a strengthening hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chenière Caminada Hurricane brought a strong storm surge that flooded much of southeast Louisiana. 779 people died out of the town’s 1500 residents from the high winds and flooding from the storm surge. The surge was up to 16 feet, with heavy surf above it. The hurricane caused about 2000 fatalities in total, making it among the deadliest American hurricanes.
The Gulf States were greatly affected by the hurricane. The orange and rice crop were greatly damaged, and combined with destruction of the wind, the hurricane caused about $5 million in damage (1893 USD, $102.6 million in 2005 USD).

Here’s an interesting group of photos over at The Disappearance of a Community

And here’s a great Post on Cheminiere Caminada and the Hurricane

In 1763 Monsieur Du Rollin was given a land grant to The Chénière which was later sold to Francisco Caminada who gave it his name. Land on Grand Isle wasn’t mentioned until the 1780’s when the Louisiana Territory was under Spanish control. The Spanish encouraged colonization, so land grantssplit the island among four men: Jacques Rigaud, Joseph Caillet, Francisco Anfrey and Charles Dufrene.

Original Land Grants of Grand Isle

Map of orginal landgrants at Grand IsleGrand Isle was separated from the finger of The Chénière by a narrow body of water called “the spit” because it was narrow enough to spit across.

Grand Isle was settled by the descendants of the original owners as well as other French Creoles. Caminadaville was settled by Acadians who had migrated down the bayou from the Acadian coast as well as Creoles and immigrants from other countries.

Early settlers of Chénière Caminada probably also included some of Jean Lafitte’s men. Lafitte and his band of pirates, or privateers as they wished to be called, had a base on Grand Terre but also frequented Grand Isle and Chénière Caminada. Researching the true pirate history of the area is difficult because, as Grace King wrote in her memories of Chénière Caminada in 1894, “such people do not keep official certificates of themselves”.

The 1893 Storm, is a group of descendants of survivors.

Kate Chopin

The life of Louisiana writer Kate Chopin was affected by the hurricane, which is evidenced in her writings.

Kate Chopin’s Story on the storm, from Loyola University in New Orleans.

Generally speaking, it is believed that writers write about subjects with which they are familiar and, in particular, fiction writers often use personal experiences as a source of inspiration. This belief is substantiated in the case of Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening, especially with regard to Cheniere Caminada.

Cheniere Caminada was a popular vacation resort located on the Louisiana coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the late nineteenth century it was very common for upper class wives and children to travel to the hotels there and for husbands to visit on weekends. Many of the defining moments and experiences of Edna Pontellier took place right there at Cheniere Caminada, and this paper will explore some of the real life events in light of Chopin’s story.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 1981, Cheminere Caminada
Cheniere was described by the census of 1880 as a fishing village with a growing resort industry, according to Joseph Loulan Pitre (8). Now, known by only a few, this place of such diversity and recreational appeal lives on only in the books and memorials that exist as a tribute. Fortunately one such book that provides a snapshot of Cheniere Caminada is The Awakening.

Technically a peninsula, Cheniere Caminada was connected to the mainland only by marsh and was named for the “chenieres” that shot up from the ground. Pitre defines a cheniere as a ridge that is high enough to support the growth of oak trees (10). To further aid in the understanding of the geography of Cheniere Caminada and the storm that caused so much damage, a drawing of Cheniere Caminada from the Cheniere Hurricane Centennial book is included at the end of this report as well as a graphic from Unisys Corporation web site showing the path of the hurricane of 1893.

from coast 250 dot org

On the evening of October 1, 1893, six years before The Awakening was published, Cheniere Caminada was decimated by a category two hurricane with winds estimated to have been 100 miles per hour, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration web site (NOAA). In contrast to two more recent hurricanes which, were of category five, named Andrew and Mitch, with winds of 135 and 155 miles per hour respectively, the hurricane that struck Cheniere Caminada was somewhat less intense. Nonetheless, [being directly exposed with no barrier whatsoever for protection,] the effects of the strong hurricane were devastating for the village.

Kate Chopin was known to have been a visitor to Cheniere Caminada and although New Orleans was spared any of the effects of the storm, according to The Terrebonne Genealogical Society, local and national newspapers carried reports on the catastrophic storm for over a month (5).

It’s definitely worth reading the entire article.

At Cheniere Caminada by Kate Chopin.

Loyola University’s Kate Chopin site, which has some great photos of Cheminiere Caminada, and of Grand Isle.

Those bodies that were not lost at sea were scattered on the island. By the Tuesday after the hurricane, the remaining residents of the island had used sticks and poles to dig the graves for four hundred bodies. After that, the unburied remaining bodies threatened disease, so to hasten the burial process, mass graves were utilized. By October 6th, there were still bodies left unburied, and some were to remain that way since they were trapped under large amounts of rubble. Even with the sorrow and devastation that claimed the island, some people came into the area to rob the bodies of their clothes and any possessions.

Once the dead were buried, the survivors abandoned the Cheniere and settled in area of Laforche, Terrebonne, and Jefferson Parish.4 Cheniere Caminada was not the only place devastated by the storm. A town called Oyster Bayou, with a population of 300, was competely wiped out. Another community called Fifi Island, with a tiny population of 30, was also ravaged, leaving no survivors.

Grand Isle saw much destruction from the storm as well. Lives were lost, but not the vast number that seen by Cheniere Caminada or Oyster Bayou. Because of the low sand hills on Grand Isle’s shores, their presence managed to soften the hard-hitting impact of the crashing waves, and protected the island from catastrophic damage. Hotels on the island were destroyed, however, and tourism was put on hold. The bell once belonging to Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Cheniere Caminada ended up at Our Lady of the Isle Church on Grand Isle in 1961.

Titulus Crucis

A friend recommended this link the other evening, it’s both hilarious and disturbing.

While looking for it, I saw post entitled Titulus Crucis, from April 2011, and asked if that was it. It wsn’t, but tht’s a long story.

Here’s the post: Prebyterian Theologian Wants to Replace the Cross with a Lactating Breast.

See, it’s not difficult to see why I thought it might have been titled Titulus Crucis. (Enough said!) But I was in the archives for April 2011, not 2010.

It’s an intersting read.

Grand Isle – notes from Mom

bridgeWorking through the tons of paper and such left over from my parent’s estate has led to the finding of tons of papers and such (… I know, I know…) leftover, which I do’t really know what to do with. So, I though I’d post this here rather than just toss mom’s remembrance of Grand Isle. Who knows, someone may find it of value same day? Photos are culled from the web, and are not my own (yet).

We always got up in the middle of the night so that we could reach the island by daybreak. The last town before Grand Isle was Leeville. Daddy teased me and said the town was named in his honor – Lee. I remember it best for the hundreds of giant grasshopper shaped oil well pumps. I always pretended we had to pass through this last gauntlet of giant insects before we could prove worthy of reaching the island.
Grand Isle Bridge, Completed in 1932

Daddy said that the bridge to the island was brand new, and before it was built automobiles could not get to Grand Isle. He also knew the story of the great hurricane at Cheniere Caminada, and we always retold this story just before we got to the bridge. On the way we passed many small palmetto-thatched houses, and I always imagined that these were unhabited by survivors of that hurricane — maybe some of them were.

Grand Isle then was unlike the island of today. The only houses were down a sandy lane in the oak grove in the middle of the island, and we stayed in one that was a raised cottage from the last century. There were no buildings on the beach side of the main road on the island. Little foot paths led over an expanse of low sand dunes to the beach and the surf.

Early in the morning and late in the evening, herds of long-horned cattle came came to the beach to cool off in the edge of the surf. The first time I saw the animals I was terrified!

[This ends here, but I get the feeling there’s another page or so to this dramatic reminiscence of olde Grand Ilse, and a land that is gone with the surf. Time, and continued rummaging, will tell the tale!]

The Rev. Kenneth Allen