St. Augustine Church, widely regarded as the oldest African-American church in the country, was slated for closure only six months after Hurricane Katrina. Since its opening, St. Augustine has always been a vital cultural nexus in the city's Afro-Creole community, and closing the parish at a time when it was most needed would have been a devastating blow. In the wake of the hurricane, the Archdiocese of New Orleans failed to recognize the cultural significance of St. Augustine, and its actions appeared to align with a larger plan of discouraging a particular class of people from returning to the city. While post-Katrina injustices related to housing and voting have received considerable attention, the circumstances of institutions such as churches have been largely overlooked. The paper addresses this dimension of the post-Katrina experience through an examination of the struggle to keep St. Augustine open.


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pp. 557-581
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