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Catholic News Service: Archivists work to save parish sacramental records from mold, mildew

Archivists work to save parish sacramental records from mold, mildew
By Ron Brocato
Catholic News Service

"BATON ROUGE, La. (CNS) -- Although all of the records and artifacts most vital to the Archdiocese of New Orleans were saved before Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, many of the individual parishes' sacramental records were lost or badly contaminated.

   Charles Nolan, archivist for the New Orleans Archdiocese, and his
   counterpart in the Baton Rouge Diocese, Emilie Leumas, have been
   working feverishly to save the recovered records. They anticipate a
   new set of document preservation procedures will rise from the mold
   and mildew.

   "All the sources we know of on a national level (pertaining) to
   records recovery for conservation when things are wet say to do
   (certain things) within the first 48 hours," Leumas said. "Well, our
   records have been wet for 48 days or more, and there is no playbook
   for this."


   "But when this is over, we will be able to talk at national meetings
   about what we did," Leumas told the Clarion Herald, New Orleans'
   archdiocesan newspaper. "It will create an entirely new chapter in
   restoration guides."

   Records from nine Catholic parishes have been sent to Louisiana
   State University and are undergoing a procedure that freezes a
   document at minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit for 72 hours to kill the
   mold. Nolan and Leumas will then clean and preserve the records on

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