LT GOVERNOR MITCH LANDRIEU ANNOUNCES RESOLUTION IN HOLY CROSS-CABRINI ISSUE -- 03/21/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2007
LT GOVERNOR MITCH LANDRIEU ANNOUNCES RESOLUTION IN HOLY CROSS-CABRINI ISSUE
Memorandum of Agreement allows Holy Cross School to move to Cabrini Campus;
Key Architectural and Religious Elements from Cabrini Chruch will be preserved
(Baton Rouge, LA) - Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu today announced a deal on the Holy Cross - Cabrini issue that will allow Holy Cross School to move from its hurricane-damaged 9th Ward facility to a location in Gentilly presently occupied by St. Francis Cabrini Church and two Catholic schools. The agreement also makes provisions for the preservation of architectural and religious elements of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church.
"From the beginning, I have pushed to accelerate the process because this is critical for the recovery of New Orleans," Landrieu said. "The relocation of Holy Cross will literally provide the anchor to revitalize the Gentilly neighborhood, the Lakefront and Lakeview."
Landrieu added, "The process worked. I would like to thank all parties involved for coming together to voice their concerns and work together to find common ground on this matter."
The signed Memorandum of Agreement allows Holy Cross to build a middle and high school, an administration building and a sports complex on the 18-acre site on Paris Avenue.
The Archdiocese, the St. Francis Cabrini Parish Council and Holy Cross will work together to devise a preservation plan or "re-use plan" for the Church's distinct architectural and religious features, like the stained glass, baptistery, and the church cross. The agreement provides for removal, relocation and re-use of these items. The Memorandum of Agreement invites the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Friends of Cabrini Church to study the site and submit recommendations regarding removal of any architectural elements at the Church. Holy Cross will develop a plan to commemorate Cabrini Church on its campus.
Because FEMA funds will be used to rebuild Holy Cross School, federal regulations required a Section 106 review process for St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties.
Construction on the new Holy Cross School complex begins in Fall of 2007 and is expected to be completed by January of 2009. Until then, students will be housed in temporary facilities at the Paris Avenue location.
The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Holy Cross School, and the Archdiocese of the City of New Orleans.
Statement from the Archdiocese of New Orleans Holy Cross and St. Frances Cabrini Parish Agreement
The Archdiocese of New Orleans is very grateful for the work of all parties involved in order to reach this agreement. We believe that because this agreement allows Holy Cross to remain in Orleans Parish this is a significant step in the further redevelopment of the City of New Orleans, especially in this particular neighborhood where the school will be a community catalyst to rebuild. The Archdiocese commends all parties for operating in the true spirit together for the common good. We know this is a significant step in the continued "road to recovery" in which schools and education play a vital part.
--Most Reverend Alfred C. Hughes, Archbishop of New Orleans
--Rev. William F. Maestri, Superintendent of Catholic Schools
We at Holy Cross have a lot of people to thank on this occasion. First and foremost, I want to thank Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu for his stalwart support and unflagging leadership on this crucial issue. Throughout this process, he has been a beacon of hope and source of strength to all who wanted to see this project move forward.
I also want to acknowledge the State Historic Preservation Officer, Pam Breaux; Angéle Davis, Louisiana's Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Tourism; local and regional officials from FEMA; the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP); and the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation for their tireless efforts to bring this process to a successful conclusion.
We also owe a great debt to our new neighbors -- the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association and all its constituent neighborhood groups, as well as the neighborhood associations in Lakeview, Lake Vista, Oak Park, Lakeshore and the surrounding areas. Holy Cross has always played a key role in anchoring its neighborhood, and we look forward to anchoring the rebirth and redevelopment of our new neighborhoods in Gentilly, the Lakefront and Lakeview.
We began this journey with the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Parish Council and parishioners of St. Francis Cabrini Church. From the outset, we acknowledged the special bond that parishioners have with each other and with their beloved church, and together we have worked hard to rescue not only our historic school but also a vibrant neighborhood and church community. This agreement marks a milestone in our journey toward that goal. We give special thanks to Archbishop Alfred Hughes, his archdiocesan staff and councils, and to the parishioners of St. Francis Cabrini who have stood by us throughout this process.
And, of course, we want to thank our local political leaders. City Council members Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Arnie Fielkow answered the bell time and again for us throughout this long ordeal. On the state level, Senators Ed Murray and Francis Heitmeier, along with Rep. Glenn Ansardi, helped us pass legislation that was vital to our decision-making process during our search for a new home.
From the outset, all of us who have survived Hurricane Katrina and vowed to be a part of New Orleans' recovery have learned how much we need each other. There are countless others who have offered us their prayers, their encouragement, their time and their talent to help us remain a vital and vibrant part of New Orleans. On behalf of Holy Cross, we thank you all.
--Board Chairman Bill Chauvin
Our new campus will be the most state-of-the-art middle school and high school in the Deep South. This is precisely the kind of forward-looking project that New Orleans needs right now, and we are proud of the role that we will play in our city's recovery.
Starting in the fall, the world will literally see our new campus rise from the ground at our new site. We hope that will be an inspiration not only to our Holy Cross parents, students and alumni, but also to our new neighbors and to the city at large. We are proud to be leading the physical and educational rebound of one of New Orleans' most vibrant areas, and we promise to continue the Holy Cross mission of bringing hope wherever our mission takes us.
--Headmaster Charles DiGrange
The Federal Emergency Management Agency would like to thank the State, the City, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, parish leaders, Holy Cross, the Archdiocese, the neighborhood organizations, preservation organizations, and the community for their efforts as consulting parties in the Section 106 review process for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church.
The comments and questions that were presented throughout the consultation process were extremely beneficial and the discussion of the issues guided the outcome.
The signing of this MOA signals the successful review of historic preservation issues. Signatories have agreed to appropriate treatment measures in accordance with Section 106 of the historic review process.
FEMA will continue to show support and leadership during these Section 106 review processes as it pertains to our statutory and regulatory responsibility toward the historic and cultural heritage of New Orleans as we rebuild the city together.