In New Orleans, Not Much Left to Sacrifice for Lent

For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning Lent, a season of atonement and sacrifice. The people of New Orleans have already been forced to give up plenty as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Six months after the catastrophe, residents talk about what they are giving up for Lent.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is Michele Norris in New Orleans. Today is Ash Wednesday. For Christians, it is the beginning of Lent, a season of atonement and sacrifice, a time to give up something, maybe a guilty pleasure such as chocolate, cigarettes or coffee. People in and around New Orleans have already sacrificed so much. We were curious what some here are choosing to give up today.

Ms. HOLLY BENSON (New Orleans resident): I would like to give up drinking for Lent, even though it's going to be hard because I am so stressed out. It's like the first thing I want to do is grab a beer, especially when I meet someone who tells me they just itemized all the things they just lost. Oh, I lost my house. People had people die on them from the stress. I mean, it's depressing. So first thing you want to do is go buy a bottle of wine and drown your sorrows.

Mr. JEREMY WILLIAMS (New Orleans resident): This morning I looked up and it's not just about giving up stuff, but it's about giving stuff back. I mean, like I'm helping one of my friends at the law office peel up some tile flooring that was ruined and everything during the storm. So just giving back, too, and that's kind of the way I look at it.

Ms. TRISH WILSON (New Orleans resident): What am I giving up for lent? People in New Orleans, we have all gained at least 15 or 20 pounds in recovery because when you were out of town, you didn't get the things you love to eat that were part of your culture. So now that we're back, we're covering that, and we have covered it too much. So even though we are not giving up drinking this year, we're definitely giving up so much eating and trying to get a little more exercise. We need to feel better.

NORRIS: That was Holly Benson, Jeremy Williams and Trish Wilson in New Orleans.

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