New Orleans church receives 'minimal damage' from Gustav

The Blessed Seelos Catholic Church, which braved winds of 96 mph last week as Hurricane Gustav tore through New Orleans, received "minimal damage" during the storm, according to Mercer Island resident and Pipe Organ Foundation President Carl Dodrill.

A few days after the hurricane ended, a member of the Blessed Seelos clergy told Dodrill that Gustav blew out one window of the parish hall, an awning outside the sanctuary and a downspout in the rectory.

"These losses were described by the priest as 'minimal,' and I guess they are for them," Dodrill wrote in a letter to the Reporter. "For us, I suppose that 70-90 mph winds that blew out a window in one of our houses would be more than minimal, but for them, it does not amount to a whole lot."

None of the parishioners at Blessed Seelos were harmed during the hurricane, which struck New Orleans on Sept. 1, as the city was evacuated. The newly restored Moller pipe organ also survived Gustav with no damages.

Last spring, Dodrill led a 37-member team in building a new Moller pipe organ for Blessed Seelos after the original was destroyed during a fire in 2003. Two weeks after the organ was resurrected in the New Orleans Church, the steeple was struck by lightning and the electric organ was ruined. Dodrill returned to New Orleans with his wife and a specialist to repair the organ last month. The Reporter ran a story on Blessed Seelos, the organ and the impeding Hurricane Gustav in its Sept. 3 issue.

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