New St. Hubert priest gets baptism by fire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Father Patrick Grenham of St. Hubert’s Catholic Church in Garyville did more than lend a helping hand out to the victims of Hurricane Katrina; he opened his home and church.

After the storm Father Grenham found his home full with three different families and their children.

“I had to basically beg them to come to Garyville,” he said. “They didn’t want to leave for the storm, but finally they did. After the storm we all got together and started to help clean up the area.”

On Sept. 1 phones were back in service and calls were made out to find information about where everyone was.

“Teri Trosclair and Christie Hymel help to put together a collection of food, medicine, diapers and clothes,” he said. “That Sunday after the storm we had more than 500 families come out and help us fill two huge semis. We worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. filling the trucks with supplies. The following Saturday we had Marathon Oil and Pinnacle Polymers give us forklifts and another semi.”

Father Grenham said the church also worked with Second Harvesters, a non-profit organization out of Baton Rouge that has been around since Hurricane Betsy to help victims.

“People in the community are very generous,” he said. “We all came together to provide MREs and water for these families and for the invisible people you never see, but that are there all the time. We helped locate 16 families into homes. We were spared a disaster and it took a lot of energy to do this, but everyone participated, black, white everyone. Local businesses were very supportive without making a big deal about it.”

One of the heroic stories Father Grenham told was about a blind woman who resided at one of the nursing homes in New Orleans. She had a Seeing Eye dog, which she attached to a mattress. She told seven residents who could not move around well enough to get themselves out to get on the mattress and the dog paddled them out of the nursing home to save them. Unfortunately, she did not make it out in time.

“In the midst of disaster, you can see people come together,” he said. “You can say it’s so horrible, but it is an opportunity to reassess and to start a new life – a life in Christ. There are people helping from all over the world. It is a great hopeful sign.”