"The Archdiocese of New Orleans has asked Wendy Vitter to head the local planning and execution of a major exhibit on Pope John Paul II coming to New Orleans in February. The archdiocese said Vitter, a lawyer, will organize and oversee all local operations, from advance planning until the exhibit closes in May. Selecting and delivering the contents of the papal exhibit is the work of the National Exhibits Association, essentially a one-man enterprise headed by the Rev. Malcolm Neyland, a Lubbock Texas priest with personal relationships among Vatican art museum officials.
With an assistant, Lamar Edwards, Vitter will be responsible for planning renovations to Schulte Hall at Notre Dame Seminary, where the exhibit will be located. Vitter and Edwards will raise and organize hundreds of volunteers, organize parking and shuttle buses to accommodate visitors, and market the exhibit across the region.
The exhibit, consisting of dozens of personal items belonging to John Paul II, will open Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl. The exhibit will include many of the late pope’s personal possessions, family pictures, and some religious items, including his famous crosier, which he carried through the city on his 1987 visit here.
It leaves New Orleans for to Seattle.
Vitter said in an interview Tuesday the exhibit might well attract more than 200,000 visitors.
Vitter said she has reached out to local City Council members and neighborhood leaders to sound out their concerns, if any, about the impact of the exhibit on the South Carrollton Avenue neighborhood around the seminary.
So far she has heard none, she said.
Vitter said timed tickets giving visitors appointments will likely go on sale on a still-to-be-developed web site in late summer or early fall.