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Loyola University New Orleans announces National Endowment for the Humanities $500,000 challenge grant

Loyola press release - January 11, 2001

(New Orleans)—Loyola University New Orleans has received a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to establish the Center for the Study of Catholics in the South. Loyola will raise an additional $1,500,000 to endow the center, which is the only one of its kind in the nation. The center will promote the study of the role in southern history and culture played by Catholic individuals and by ethnic groups.

The center will be based in Loyola's J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, and will enhance the library’s collections related to Catholics in the South. The center will also sponsor a variety of humanities programs for the general public and for scholars. This project is directed by David C. Estes, associate professor of English and a specialist in southern literature and folklore, and Darla H. Rushing, associate professor in the Monroe Library, who coordinates the library's technical services and special collections.

Among the noteworthy holdings in Loyola’s collection are the archives of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus. These records date from 1837 to the present. Other holdings document the role of southern Catholics in literature, the civil rights movement, environmental activism, and political life throughout the twentieth century.

Regional Catholicism in the United States is currently receiving increased attention from scholars. The center will respond to this interest through regional and national programs that further knowledge of the diverse expressions of Catholic culture in the South. These include the traditions of Cajuns, Creoles, African-Americans, and a wide variety of immigrant groups dating from the nineteenth century up to present-day refugees from Southeast Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. There are currently more than ten million Catholics in the South, approximately 11 percent of the total population. The percentage of southern Catholics has nearly tripled since 1970.

The J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library which opened in January 1998, has the capacity to house over 500,000 volumes and seat 700 users in the 150,000-square-foot facility. On-line computer network access in each table and study carrel allows over 1,800 computer links to millions of resources across the globe.

Based on the heritage of Catholic Jesuit higher education in Louisiana since 1849, Loyola University New Orleans was chartered in 1912. Today, the university serves approximately 5,550 undergraduate and graduate students. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Visit Loyola University on the world wide web at http://www.loyno.edu.