MANDEVILLE- For the past few years, feelings about Our Lady of the Lake Church in Old Mandeville have been tense. An effort to grow with the parish's congregation, by building a new church across the street, died after a three-plus year court battle with the city.
Topics of contention included traffic, parking and uniformity with the neighborhood. But today, church leaders are starting fresh with a new idea to potentially expand where the church currently stands and a new goal to keep everyone affected in the conversation.
“We still don't have a whole lot of details on it, but in concept, I think it’s a good idea," said Mayor Donald Viller.
And so do people on both sides of the original debate, despite the pastor only having basic sketches to go with the idea at this point.
Resident and parishioner Ann Haveman said, "We're cautiously optimistic that this is going to be a good compromise for increasing the seating that we need.”
“As long as everybody can agree on what it should look like at the end of the day and being able to grow and maintain certain parishioners without overrunning the area, if they can find a way to do that in a collaborative fashion, that comes out better for everybody," said business owner and parishioner Andre’ Savoie.
While there are still a lot of questions here, many are very encouraged by the effort to be transparent, especially this early in the game.
"I think his intentions are to be very forthright and to inform everybody every step of the way," said Haveman. Savoie said, "I think this time around, they'll be able to do it properly."
It's a project and process, so far, many are looking forward to. The pastor couldn’t be reached for comment on this story today and the diocese said any comment would have to come from the church.