About those Louisiana Carmelites

About those Louisiana Carmelites

I posted two blog entries (1, 2) in the past couple of days about a convent of Carmlite nuns in Covington, Louisiana, and the difficult situation they are in. The story got around the Net, even appearing on SpiritDaily.com and in Deal Hudson’s e-newsletter. Now people are writing to tell me that it is a hoax, that they have called the police chief in Covington and the story I posted is a fake or a hoax.

Let’s get this straight: It is not a hoax. This convent really does have a blog on which they posted information and pictures about the damage done by the hurricane and the refugees they were taking in. They really did give up their beds and were sleeping on shelves in the pantry. I’m not sure what is supposedly “fake” or a “hoax”.

Keep in mind that it’s been several days since the story was first posted. This is a fluid situation. Conditions are improving day-by-day. Trees are being cleared, electricity is coming back on, stores are re-opening, and perhaps even people who read about their plight have already come to the nuns’ aid. Also keep in mind that all the civil servants in Louisiana are overwhelmed by events and the police chief may be saying whatever is needed to placate people calling him about a group of nuns they read about on the Internet (especially when he’s getting multiple calls about it.)

I received this information originally from my father-in-law, who is a leader in his third order Carmelite community in Austin, TX, who received it himself directly from the Little Rock sisters. This isn’t some urban legend I just threw up on the site. Give me some credit it here.

  • Dom:

    I helped Deal forward post your story (I volunteer for MICC and Crisis) and even if it had been a hoax I don’t regret posting it.  I received two separate e-mails from other people in the area about the violence of the gangs and looting and felt I had enough information, given that I tried to call the nuns and could not get through, to take a chance of helping the nuns if they were in dire straights, than not posting it and letting people suffer. 

    I did receive an e-mail from a guy who went down to the convent in Covington and said that the sisters said the info was false. I paste it below here:

    “I went down to the convent today to bring the supplies since I live in the area and am very familiar with the nuns.  This story is false.”

    I don’t regret basically begging Deal to send it out as I wouldn’t have wanted to take the chance that victims and nuns do without basic necessities.  If I was closer I would have gone there myself.


  • The part that is a hoax is the bit about armed gangs supposedly attacking supply trucks. Officials of St. Tammany Parish are on WWL right now saying these stories are FALSE.

    There is, by the way, nothing about this on the webpage you pointed to.

  • Actually Bill I got two e-mails, one from an actual victim and another from a girl in touch with a federal marshall in the area that confirmed the looting.  Does that make it 100% confirmed?  No.  But I still wasn’t taking any chances.

  • Okay, let’s make it clear then. The sisters’ need was real, but the way everybody’s throwing the word “hoax” around they’re making it sound like the sisters have no problems. This could make it more difficult for them to receive help.

    I wasn’t even giving the armed gang bit a second thought. Stuff like that is often thrown in here and there and you can’t verify whether it’s true or not. Like Kathleen says, more than one person said it. It wasn’t out of bounds to repeat it when you didn’t have a reason not to believe. These are chaotic times and such things will happen.

    Let’s not it get in the way of authentic calls for help.

  • Bryce is a long ways from New Orleans. He’s in Parks, in the Diocese of Lafayette. It’s about two hours west, and wasn’t affected. Lafayette is getting lots of evacuees, so I’m sure he’s busy with that.