Founded in 1837, the Congregation of Holy Cross took its name from a district in the city of LeMans, France – Saint Croix or Holy Cross. In 1849, the Archbishop of New Orleans invited five brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross to New Orleans to assume responsibility for operating St. Mary’s Orphanage. The city had been devastated by a series of epidemics: cholera, yellow fever, and malaria.
In 1859, the congregation purchased Reynes Farm, a riverfront plantation. In 1879, as the need for the orphanage diminished, St. Isidore’s College, a boarding and day school was opened. The property became the original site on which Holy Cross School stood, and it is here that Holy Cross’ history officially began. The area has since become a Federal Historic District known as the ‘Holy Cross District.’
The General Assembly of the state of Louisiana chartered the institution on June 20, 1890, empowering it to confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The original administration building was built for $15,000 in 1895. At the suggestion of the Archbishop, St. Isidore’s College was renamed and solemnly dedicated as Holy Cross College. Two wings were added to the administration building in 1912 to accommodate the incoming students. Holy Cross operated a boarding program until 1972 that attracted as many as 150 student residents each year from across the South as well as from Central and South America.
Like a majority of New Orleans, Holy Cross was flooded by levee failures on the Industrial Canal due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The original campus was devastated. In 2007, Holy Cross selected a site for a new school in Gentilly. Holy Cross remains the only all-boys Catholic school in the Greater New Orleans area to offer a comprehensive pre-K through 12th-grade education.
Abandoned New Orleans
Often off limits to the public, abandoned photography offers a glimpse into the beautiful urban ruins that are left behind. New Orleans faced a daunting reconstruction after having endured one of the worst storms ever on record in 2005. Hurricane Katrina caused levees to fail, releasing billions of gallons of water throughout New Orleans and surrounding parishes. The catastrophic flooding destroyed or damaged over 200,000 homes and displaced more than 800,000 citizens. Fourteen years after the storm, there are still thousands of abandoned properties across the city. As neighborhoods rebuild, many historic structures become renovated, demolished, or simply forgotten. In Abandoned New Orleans, photographer Leland Kent provides an extraordinary look at eight historic and abandoned locations. From a hospital where patients and staff were trapped during the storm, to a long forgotten Nazi internment camp, and the first high school built for African-American students. Each chapter gives an in-depth look at these places accompanied by a gallery of stunning imagery. ($23.99 retail price. Each copy will be signed and includes shipping)