LAKE CHARLES — The Diocese of Lake Charles is slowly beginning a massive repair project, starting with schools and churches in the area that were damaged during Hurricanes Laura and Delta.
St. Louis Catholic High School is the first on the long list of over 500 buildings needing repairs, and while the school is still in the early stages of restoration, Father Ruben Buller, the chief of recovery for the Diocese in Lake Charles, says that he is already beginning to see a glimmer of hope.
"It reminds me so much of winter time and how if you want to get your garden ready, or plant a new tree, you have to prune back first," says Father Buller. "As hard as it was, I think it was a pruning time for us."
After the school was damaged by the hurricanes, faculty and staff, along with the Diocese, came together to create a comfortable environment for the students by bringing in temporary classrooms on campus.
Father Buller says that he was inspired by the reaction of the students returning to school after all that they had been through in the last year.
"You know, I think for the first time in my life, I saw kids that were actually happy to come back to school," says Buller. "They were just happy to come back and see their friends and be a part of something again."
Bridget Evans is one of the architects involved in the rebuilding of the school, and is also a mother of children who attend St. Louis Catholic High. She says she remembers how so many throughout the Diocese came back stronger after Hurricane Rita in 2005, and she believes that this won't be much different.
"It's a positive step, and I do have faith and belief that on the tail end of all of this, when things are starting to rebuild and our whole area is put back together, that it will be stronger and better," says Evans. "That's what we have seen in the past and I think that will happen again."
Evans says that while there are still many moving parts to the rebuilding process, the target date for students to return to a new campus is Fall of 2023.
For more information on the rebuilding projects within the Diocese click here.
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