Monthly Archives: November 2013

Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans by Deborah Burst – A review

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  Hallowed Halls

This small book,only 158 pages,packs a whollop of information. Author Deborah Burst plays devoted tour guide and historian for the grand churches of New Orleans and her devotion,love and respect shines through every word and chapter. We are taken from parish to parish,inner city to countryside,reading the journeys of Nuns,about the lives of the architects and their families,the industrial boom at the turn of the century that sported thriving communities and allowed these structures to become what they are today and were then ; places of teaching,worship,leadership and reverence,but above all how they became the examples of central stability that renewed faith in humankind and self,safety and community strength. Ms. Burst pays tribute to 12 of these buildings,some cathedral and grand,some small and lovely,each chapter showing that within the architecture there is art,literature,music,history,but mostly,family. Just as important,its about the people of New Orleans,the hodge podge of ethnicity and strange oneness that combined to form the very heart of New Orleans culture,as it is about the churches those people built.The people built,churches formed,which brought more people together and so on, until they blended together to be just as much as part of each other that the two coexisted together and within each other,
Above all,3 of these churches in particular stand out to me as shining examples of human kindness at its best. Algiers Point with its sanctuary-like picturesque village,just beacons me to visit. Marginy Opera House and its two devoted men determined to tackle a century old church and all its repairs,made my heart swell with pride,even though I do not know the men personally. Christwood Retirement & Christ Episcopal School is impressive in its unique approach to a multi-generational campus; school children building floats for Mardi Gras and throwing beads to the retired residents brought tears to my eyes while reading about it.
Much of the Catholic terms,titles and appointments of people,and architectural terms were lost on me,as I am neither,but Burst is kind enough to include a glossary of terms to help us muddle through this.Even without that,the overall feel and understanding is there.The life’s blood,heart and soul,dedication and ambition that went into the building,care and purpose of these churches is humbling and awe-inspiring.
I cannot imagine the time and sheer attention to detail Deb Burst put into this book,but Im glad she did.It will definitely be in my luggage on my next trip to The Big Easy.

Carolyn Seiver
Bell,Book & Candle Reviews
YA Book Addict Reviewer
Hot Tree Editing
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