Sr. Carolyn Marie Brockland, left, Prioress of Ursuline in New Orleans, and Mrs. Gretchen Kane, president of Ursuline Academy hold a news conference with a local television station regarding the reopening of Ursuline's elementary school on January 3,2006.
Sr. Carolyn Marie stayed at Ursuline during Hurricane Katrina and for 8 days guided her nuns and the guests they had taken in for refuge. She rode in a pirogue through the streets of New Orleans some 30 blocks to a hospital to check on two of her nuns only to be turned away at gunpoint. After 8 days they were evacuated by boat from the ramp of the Convent to a truck on higher ground, then to a bus which took them to Baton Rouge for airplanes waiting to take them to Alton, Illinois to their convent there or to Dallas, Texas to another Ursuline convent.
They had ample food and water during the days but the unbearable heat, rising water and lack of communication tested their strength. They were ordered out at midnight by the National Guard but Sr. Carolyn said she had 90 year old people and several children there, enough food and water and no one needing medical attention and could they please return in the morning to get them. A Black Hawk helicopter had lowered guardsmen in the center courtyard to the porch of the convent.
The order of Ursuline nuns has been in New Orleans continously since 1727. The only time there was an absence of Ursulines in New Orleans was for a few weeks following Katrina-a remarkable piece of history.