National News

Former Seminarian Finds Post-Katrina Silver Lining

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) – New Orleans attorney Brandon Briscoe was a second-year pre-theology student at Notre Dame Seminary in 2005 when he took a photograph of Department of Wildlife and Fisheries workers evacuating him and 20 others from the seminary on the afternoon of Sept. 1 – three days after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

From there, the stranded were taken to dry land. Briscoe rented a car to join his displaced family in Mississippi.

About 40 Notre Dame seminarians, faculty, staff and guests had chosen to hunker down at the seminary during the storm for various reasons, Briscoe said.

“A number of us did not realize what we were in for,” said Briscoe, who was 24 at the time. “The building is a four-story brick building with generators, so we thought we could ride out a typical storm.”

Briscoe said the moments he did not photograph – during his four days of shelter at the seminary – stand out more than his memories of being rescued.

Briscoe, another seminarian and a seminary faculty member were credited with saving the life of an elderly woman who needed medical attention. “The low point was watching people wade up and down Carrollton Avenue in need of help,” he said. “All we could do was pray.”

Asked to identify Katrina’s silver lining, Briscoe said, “It was important to Archbishop (Alfred) Hughes to have the cathedral opened as quickly as possible after the storm as a symbol of hope.

“And now, St. Louis Cathedral has become my home parish. Katrina helped me find my parish home,” he said.

Share this article with a friend.