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Louisiana St. Roch Chapel, Yellow Fever Shrine New Orleans

In the 19th century, yellow fever swept New Orleans, but Reverend Peter Thevis, the pastor of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, had a plan. He prayed to St. Roch (who is most identified with good health and healing), asking for members of his parish to be shielded from the disease and promising to build a shrine for the saint in gratitude. While 40,000 New Orleanians died, no one in Father Thevis’ community perished. Today, pilgrims still visit the St. Roch Chapel, leaving offerings around the shrine. Among the artifacts: children’s polio braces, crutches, rows of prosthetic legs, plaster feet, false teeth, and fake eyeballs. —AS

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