Louisiana Daily Photo: Madonna Manor Was A Dark Era In The New Orleans Catholic Church

Louisiana Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

Louisiana Daily Photo via rl reeves jr

I had no idea that I was photographing a place where dozens of children were ritually abused by priests and nuns in the Catholic Church. The Hope Haven complex was merely an interesting looking set of buildings on my route to yet another rural po boy shop

But when I began my research I discovered that the Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid out millions of dollars to former residents of Hope Haven and Madonna Manor, the structures on the side of hwy 45 in Marrero, Louisiana.

I was routinely beaten by nuns when I was in grammar school but I didn’t think too much about it. I was unruly and provocative and I knew my actions would be met with corporal punishment. I did it anyway. Like lots of young punks I was full of sand and how hard can an elderly woman really beat you anyway?

I guess the nuns in Louisiana were made of rougher cloth than the ones in Kentucky.

As I read some of the tales of abuse rendered by these sisters of God I blanched. Sister Catherine Regina was my arch-nemesis growing up but she kept the punishment she served up within the bounds of decency. Being beaten with a skip rope was about as bad as it got. Some of her sisters in Louisiana were considerably kinkier and more violent.

Madonna Manor was founded in 1933 by priest, Monsignor Peter Wynhoven. It was established to be a home for orphans and children from abusive homes but apparently the mission went off the tracks at some point and the protectors became serial abusers.

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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24 Responses to Louisiana Daily Photo: Madonna Manor Was A Dark Era In The New Orleans Catholic Church

  1. Fred L. Nichols says:

    I was a resident of Madonna Manor 1975 to 1982, please contact me, have many stories. Have pictures to prove I was a resident.

  2. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I will, thanks for commenting

  3. Johm says:

    I was there from ’63-’72
    Love to fond others
    It was a nightmare, loke a pow camp

  4. Brian Heckler says:

    I was thire in the 70s rase buy sister. She was good to me. To me nuns are my famly my name was brian pollack.up setting place closed

  5. John polit says:

    I lived in hope haven between 1978 and 1980.i suffered abuse by a,preists named(brother harold) and physical abuse by the man who ran the wood shop downstairs(Mr.Sal)..I have tried to deal with this through lawyer’s. .only to be told.the preists and wood shop man..never worked there…meaning the church is calling me a liar….please contact me if you know of others who went through it also

  6. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I will contact you.

  7. Simon Elliser says:

    I was there in the early 50’s. Same deal. I remember a Bro. Alfred who was unusually cruel and homo.

  8. John polit says:

    You were to contact me by email .Mr reeves.my name is john polit.i still cannot find put their last names.and have had a weirdo contact me.who says he was a in hope haven with me.yet would not say his name or if he suffered abuse.would only say he knew both of my abusers.pleas contact me sir

  9. john polit says:

    This is,john polit..please take down the comments I put up..it was a mistake on my part.only weirdos contacting me

  10. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I removed your email address. Sorry for the ill communication.

  11. Alan Faneca says:

    I lived at Madonna Manor between 1960 and 1964. I am now 64 years old and this place has haunted me my entire life. My first night there I was taken by Sister Gertrud Marie into the bathroom and whipped with a stick for crying, I was 6 years old. The beatings continued two or 3 times a week. Most of the time I never knew what the beating was for. There was a little nun that did most of the beating and boy was she good at it. I think now we all lived in fear an learned to keep our mouths shut about what was going on. For me looking back, there was a lot of bad things going. I heard screams, kids crying, I remember a boy running away only to get caught put in a room with mattress padded walls. And never saw him again. After washing, Gertrud Marie would inspect genitals with her hands. Had a similar situation with Ralph, the band director/bus driver.

    After leaving Madona Manor I was in therapy for 3 years. Started drinking at 11, drugs at 15. Tried suicide twice, more therapy and 4 failed marriages. My time at Madona Manor set me up to fail in life. I have always said it ruined my life because it is always with me. Glad to hear they shut it down.

  12. Tony gambino says:

    Sick sick people that ran that place I hope the burn in HELL!!!!

  13. dscalia says:

    Does anyone know the names of Madonna Manor staff (Priests, brothers, nuns, or others with authority) from 1975 through 1977?

  14. RL Reeves Jr says:

    Try http://www.newspapers.com it’s an excellent resource.

  15. Charles Simon says:

    My name Charles Simon I was a resident at hope haven in the mid to late 1980s and never once experienced nor heard of sexual abuse of anyone while I was there. At that time. I have nothing but fond memories of that place and it helped shape who I am today. Never the less I dont doubt that such things may have happened decades earlier then when I was there. But at the time when i was there it was a good place for children and all the staff were wonderful people who were running the boys home at that time from 1985-1989 and I think if the state reopened it as a boys hope again it would be good if properly ran and staffed and kept up. Charles Simon phone number: 5043572268

  16. Rob Boyte says:

    I worked there from Aug 79 to Jan 81, first as a child care worker at Madonna Manor then as Groundskeeper on the Hope Haven side. I had heard about the abuse and have been trying to find when the place was finally shut down (2005?) In searching I did see a news article mentioning Bro. Harold. I was there when that came out and like other cases, the Archdiocese just sent him off to another facility I think in Texas. I wasn’t close to Bro. Harold, he was administration and I a lay worker. As I understood it, the kid involved wasn’t so much a victim as a hustler who was getting special favors and when a favor was not given he ratted him out. However, IDK how many other kids may have been victimized as well.

  17. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I’d love to read a longform on the stories from behind the scenes. rl

  18. Bobby Davis says:

    Hi my name is Bobby Davis I also was in hope heaven in the late 70’s and I was also was sexual and physically abused by a man named Sal and a man named Harold my abuse was so consistent with what happened to me by these men’s and others some of the nuns who allow this abuse to take place should be held accountable to they are corporate to this physical and sexual abuse by these priests

  19. Jimmy tulips says:

    Hey Bobby davis are you on Facebook

  20. Dell Lawton says:

    Tulips, when were you there? I was there in early to mid sixties.

  21. RL Reeves Jr says:

    I’m not sure. 7 to 8 years ago I reckon.

  22. Joanne Rickner says:

    My husband was thrown away by his mom when he was a young boy and was at Madonna manor. I believe that he was a victim as well. He is so messed up in the head and the monster in him has slowly come out. Not only did these sick people ruin the lives of their victims but the relationships that the victims get into, my life is ruined because of the darkness in him which started with his mom and then the abusers. I would like financial compensation for my husband. He has proof that he was there and I am a witness to his evil brought on by madness in the church . Joanne Rickner / Bryan Channing Hartley

  23. Paul Hammond says:

    My name is Paul Hammond. First off let me say to all survivors of sexual abuse I am SO SORRY for what you have had to endure. I run http://www.justiceforabuse.org. Our firm has helped thousands of sexual abuse survivors get justice for their child sexual abuse. We were instrumental in helping pass the law in Louisiana that allows civil cases against the Catholic Church and the State of LA. Anyone on here that has participated in this discussion that was abused while at Madonna Manor/Hope Haven should call me directly at 323-716-1235 so I can discuss your legal options in getting Justice and Compensation for what you have had to endure. Please call me today.

    If you would prefer to text you can text me on my number as well.

    Thank you and I am so sorry for what you have been through.

    Paul Hammond

  24. Paul Hammond says:

    First off to any abuse survivors reading this I am so sorry for what you have been through. my name is Paul Hammond and if you have been abused at Madonna Manor/Hope Haven please call or text me at 323-716-1235. I can and WILL help you get justice for what happened to you so long ago. You can now get compensation and Justice in the state of Louisiana for child abuse cases like this.

    Thank you

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