NEW ORLEANS -- The National Shrine to Our Lady of Prompt Succor is the elegant Catholic Church on the Ursuline Academy campus, with the 200-year old statue of Jesus and his mother on the altar.
In 1815, as General Andrew Jackson faced a huge British army in the Battle of New Orleans, the Ursuline nuns prayed all night to Our Lady of Prompt Succor for quick help.
"General Jackson came the next day to say to the sisters, it was your prayers and the prayers of the people that gave us victory," said Sister Carla Dolce, OSU, the Shrine Director.
"The Blessed Mother, how can you lose with that, how can you?" smiled Bridget Roberts, who had been praying in the chapel. "You can't. Jesus isn't going to say no."
Now those who need help in a hurry come here to pray to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, like Bridget, who is happy after prayers for a medical crisis.
"I'm doing well," she said, noting how much better she is feeling.
But to be ready for the Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial in 2015, the 90-year-old chapel needs $2 million worth of work. The roof is in such bad shape it rains inside.
"We all have to come in and mop," said Sr. Carla. "We have to put down papers."
So far they've raised $1 million, including a gift from Phyllis Taylor to pay for a new roof and waterproofing.
But they still need to raise another million dollars. One of the big projects is to replace the stairs and landing.
"It's awful, and people have fallen," Dolce said. "Well look at how small it is. They come out, and they're right on the steps. They need help.
A new front entrance, sound system, painting, even new pews are why the Ursuline nuns are seeking donations.
"There's a lady that sends two dollars, a crumpled two dollars every month," said Sr. Carla. "We are so grateful."
"Put me on the list because I would greatly want to see that, and then with my granddaughter going to Ursuline, maybe one day we'll have a wedding here," concluded a hopeful Bridget Roberts.
For more about donating, call the Our Lady Of Prompt Succor National Shrine office at 866-0200, or visit their website.