The City’s First Permanent Labyrinth
A Symbol of Hope & Renewal for New Orleans


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NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2006

Dr. Lauren Artress, Founder of the Labyrinth Movement & Reverend Canon Francois Legaux, Rector Emeritus of the Chartres Cathedral To Bless City’s New Symbol of Hope & Renewal

Easter Weekend Blessing & Dedication Events Announced for the City’s First Permanent Labyrinth at Audubon Park

New Orleans, LA --- The Friends of the Labyrinth at Audubon Park have announced two days of special events to be held in conjunction with the formal Easter Sunday blessing and dedication of the first permanent Labyrinth in the City of New Orleans.

The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Founder of Veriditas - Voice of the Labyrinth Movement and Father Francois Legaux, Rector Emeritus of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France will participate in the weekend’s formal dedication and blessing.

The formal dedication will be Easter Sunday April 16, 2006 at 3:00 p.m. Also, a Torch Lit Walk dedicated to the rebirth of New Orleans will be held Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. All events will be held at the Labyrinth at Audubon Park, East Dr. at Laurel Street, behind the Audubon Park Stables.

The new permanent labyrinth, a five-year collaborative effort of Audubon Nature Institute and The Friends of The Labyrinth at Audubon Park, is a symbol of hope and a place of rebuilding, restoring, and renewing of people and souls following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

According to Dian Winingder, a founding member of The Friends of the Labyrinth, the Labyrinth at Audubon Park has been waiting for its own timing and purpose and now that purpose has become clear, particularly as our beloved New Orleans is consumed by the gutting of homes, the rebuilding of levees, and the removing of debris from our neighborhoods.

“This Labyrinth is a symbol of hope and will offer our New Orleans community a place to heal, to walk together and to celebrate new life. The time is now so right for a permanent Labyrinth to be born in a beautiful sacred place. Audubon Park has been so much a part of our history and Audubon Nature Institute has stood strong for the people of New Orleans. We are so grateful to have Lauren Artress and Father Francois Legaux officiate and bless this Labyrinth which means so much to so many in our city,” said Winingder.

Lauren Artress is a transpersonal psychotherapist and author of Walking a Sacred Path and The Sacred Path Companion released in March 2006. She is Canon at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral and the founder and president of Veriditas, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing people to the healing, meditative powers of the labyrinth.

This is Father Legaux’s third visit to New Orleans, a city he cares about greatly. As a child he saw his home and town destroyed by the Nazis, then liberated by the Americans. Because of his compassion for the devastation of Katrina, he is particularly happy to be able to come and bless this new labyrinth as "both a symbol and source of renewal and healing for the people of New Orleans”.

For centuries the great stone labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral was hidden under rows of chairs, its purpose lost and its use forgotten. Father Lagaux was the first Rector in modern times to remove the chairs and bring visitors from around the world to experience the mystical pilgrimage act of labyrinth walking. Because of his bold vision and warm welcome, thousands of spiritual seekers have rediscovered the labyrinth as a sacred path. In the past decade hundreds of new Chartres style labyrinths have been placed in churches, parks, hospitals, cemeteries, schools, and other community centers in many countries.

The ancient Labyrinth has been known to the human race for over four thousand years and can be found in almost every religious and cultural tradition around the world. The pattern of the labyrinth at Audubon Park is a replica of the eleven-circuit labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral built in 1203 and located southwest of Paris.

The Labyrinth’s archetypal symbol of the spiral is the universal representation of transformation. The Labyrinth is a tool which provides a sacred place for meditation, centering, and healing. A Labyrinth is a walking meditation. All people and all cultures are invited to journey along the labyrinth. As in life, you will encounter many turns. Trust the path. There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. There are no tricks or decisions. Just follow the single path, one foot in front of the other, until you reach the center. Return along the same path.

The Friends of The Labyrinth at Audubon Park is non-profit organization whose mission is to build and support the first permanent labyrinth for the New Orleans community. The Friends are also active in projects to educate the public about the history of the ancient labyrinth and to raise awareness about the resurgence of the labyrinth as a meditative and spiritual tool.

For more information, contact The Friends of the Labyrinth at Audubon Park, 400 N. Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 or www.LabyrinthAtAudubonPark.org.

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Contact:
Denise Estopinal
The Estopinal Group
(504) 269-9233
(504) 495-2564