Locals React to Notre Dame fire

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“My youngest son, said, ‘Mom, I’m really glad you’re not in Paris, because you would have been putting on fire gear and running in there with them.'” Emile Gagnet Leumas said after seeing the images of the Notre Dame on fire.

As the world watched the cathedral burn, New Orleans felt it a little more with our deep French and Catholic roots.

“The church is all about teaching. In the 1100s, 1200s when the church was being built people didn’t read and write. Christians didn’t have the ability to read and write like we do now. Everything was told through the visual arts, through stain glass, through wood carvings, through the stone, and how it’s done with statues, and that’s what’s being lost,” Leumas said, she is the Director of Archives and Records for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

She has visited the cathedral at least once a year since in her early 20s.
“I have a love of Paris, a love of France, and a love of Catholicism and it all comes together in that building. It’s just devastating.”

“We are feeling really devastated today. It’s a really sad day.” says Vincent Sciama, the French Consulate General in New Orleans.

Sciama says that through out Monday his phone rang with condolences and well wishes, but adds France will rebuild.

“The last years have been sad for Paris. We’ve been through many tragedies. The motto of Paris is ‘fluctuat nec mergitur’ which means we are on the rebound and we don’t sink. We always rebound. We are a resilient city and a resilient people. Once again, I’m sure we will show our resilience in this day of sadness for Notre Dame of Paris.”


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