Holy Cross Band Director Mike Orkus Announces Retirement Following 48 Years in Catholic Education

NEW ORLEANS—Holy Cross School’s Tiger Band director Michael Orkus has announced his retirement at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. A 1967 graduate of Holy Cross, Orkus has served in Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New Orleans for 48 years.

Orkus spent 28 years at Holy Cross, where he has served as band director, dean of students, religion teacher, founder of the Tiger Cub Athletic Club program, and transportation director. In 2018 he returned to Holy Cross and led the Tiger Band in their appearance in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn., on New Year’s Eve. Orkus also directed the Holy Cross Tiger Band in its national TV performance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1981.

Orkus’ Catholic school career includes serving as band director and religion teacher for De La Salle, founding band director and religion teacher at Christian Brothers School, principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Kenner, and dorm counselor and band director at St. Paul’s in Covington.

“I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work in many positions at these various Catholic Schools. Foremost in my memories will be the Holy Cross trip in 1981 to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the years when our Holy Cross middle school band easily topped 100 members! My heart began and stays with Holy Cross. This includes three and a half years as a Holy Cross Brother in Valatie, New York and Austin, Texas,” Orkus said.

“Although I am retiring from full-time education, I hope to continue on a voluntary basis to support band programs in the Archdiocese and to support St. Joseph Abbey where I will become an Oblate this coming summer.”

“Mike Orkus is a true Holy Cross Man and servant leader who has touched the lives of many students in his 48-year career. We are so grateful for his service, not only to Holy Cross, but to Catholic education in New Orleans. We wish Mr. Orkus well in his retirement and thank him for his significant contributions to our school and our fine arts program,” said Eric DesOrmeaux, chief school officer.

Holy Cross is currently interviewing candidates for the band director position and will make an announcement once a replacement has been hired.

About Holy Cross School

Holy Cross School is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school founded in 1849 by the Congregation of Holy Cross School to educate young men from metropolitan New Orleans. Serving students grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12, Holy Cross School is fully accredited by the Louisiana State Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and holds memberships in the National Catholic Educational Association, the National Middle School Association and the National High School Association. A Holy Cross School education engages the whole man – mind and heart, body and soul – and is rooted in the teachings of Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross. For more information about Holy Cross School visit www.holycrosstigers.com or call 504.942.3100.