Sunday, August 29, 2010


Thanks to Athenae at First Draft for the photo and the title. She took this picture when she was in New Orleans at the end of March, when a group of us led by FD bloggers, Athenae and Scout Prime, gathered to gut a house, view the destruction, and squeeze in a little fun.

The statue of the Virgin Mary stood in a driveway with the head broken off, lying on the ground, but a kind person put the head back in place. The photo and the title struck me with such force when I first saw it that I have never forgotten it. The image of the statue of Mary in the driveway - "Mary, full of grace" as Athenae calls her - was the symbol of my destroyed and broken home town, my abandoned city, my beloved New Orleans - always full of grace to me.

Our Lady Of The Driveway

O Mary of the Driveway,
Broken like your city,
Your head lies on the ground.
A sorry sight, a sign,
A sign of devastation
Wrought by wind and water,
Angry blow and raging flow.

A passer-by, one of tender heart,
Sees and stops and mourns your head
Lying there apart,
And gently, gently takes it
And replaces it.
There. Our Lady's whole again.
Or so it seems. Or is it so?

(June Butler - 5-13-07)
I posted the picture, the commentary, and the poem first on May 13, 2007 and then again on the anniversary of Katrina in the years that followed. Until I change my mind, I will post the picture and the poem every year on the anniversary of Katrina and THE FEDERAL FLOOD, which, in New Orleans, was not a natural disaster but an ENGINEERING DISASTER. I remember the 1500 people who died in New Orleans and all those who loved them. I remember the 275,000 who lost their homes. I remember those who survived, but suffered through horrendous conditions in the days after Katrina. I remember those who have not returned to their home towns, and who want to, but can't find affordable housing. I remember those in Louisiana and Mississippi still struggling to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.

Katrina - August 29, 2005


  1. Deeply, deeply moving, Grandmère Mimi. I'm going to print out the photo and put it in my little oratory where it can regularly inform my prayers.

    Your poem pentrates my heart. That gets printed out, too.

  2. Memory Eternal/Never Again! (to the human-caused destruction that is)

  3. JCF, I hadn't the heart to read the many remembrances on the anniversary.

  4. Grandmere Mimi,

    When I was flying home on the day before the authorities opened St. Bernard Parish to residents, I saw in the Atlanta airport a news segment where a CNN reporter was driving around with the Sheriff, and she made the observation that there were many Blessed Mother statues around - and not was tipped over. In my parents' yard, they had a statue next to a pond that would occasionally be knocked over by the neighborhood cat. After the storm, the pond was filled in, the little bridge over it was gone, and their nearby hot tub - enclosure and all - was atop the neighbor's shed. And the statue had not budged.
    I have a photo if you're interested.

    Dwayne Marlborough, Mandeville, LA

  5. Dwayne MarlboroughOctober 7, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    The photos I noted are here:

  6. Thanks, Dwayne. I'll copy the pictures. Our Lady of the Pond?

  7. Our Lady of Resilience?

  8. Our Lady of Resilience is good, Dwayne.


Anonymous commenters, please sign a name, any name, to distinguish one anonymous commenter from another. Thank you.