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NEWORLEANS-- Father Michael Jacques, pastor of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, has died, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He was 69.

Jacques died overnight. He was admitted to the hospital Thursday after an apparent heart attack, according to the archdiocese.

Father Mike, as many of his parishioners fondly called him, was not only instrumental in the growth of the 6th Ward church for nearly 30 years, but also in developing the parish.

As an influentialleader in the local archdiocese, Jacques also found himself in the news after Hurricane Katrina, when he served as an architect of the controversialplans to shutter several churches and 33 church parishes, citing declining population and a priest shortage.Some of those closed churches have since reopened.

Funeral arrangements have yet been made.

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