The Raul Pineda Bench Campaign
This campaign is to dedicate and name a marble bench in his honor. This special bench survived Katrina and was transported from the 4950 Dauphine Street campus to its new home at the 5500 Paris Avenue campus under the canopy of oaks under the Grotto. To donate to this special campaign please fill out the online form below. You can also mail a check to: Holy Cross School, Attn: Advancement Office, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70122. (Please write Pineda Bench Campaign in the memo.)
Below the donation form is a story about Raul Pineda written by Claudia Porter for the December 1986 Edition of Tiger Tales.
This story about Raul Pineda is a walk down memory lane written by Claudia Porter for the December 1986 Edition of Tiger Tales.
A Somewhat Foreign, but Very Native Son: Raul Pineda
When one looks across all the members of the Holy Cross faculty, he sees a refreshing diversity that unfolds because of differences in culture, education, talent, interest and personality. Fortunately, the bond that keeps each member singing "Glory's crown adorns thee" also allows him to reach the essence of his very own individuality.
Among this distinctive medley of teacher is one who add to his background of Honduran heritage, Holy Cross fundamentals, and Loyola's Ignatian principles an exuberant zeal for all life has to offer. He shows it in his love for travel, music, people and God. No one else from Dauphine Street to the River comes close to claiming this particular aggregate of experience and enjoyment...no one other than Raul Pineda.
Born in a city of 55,000, La Cieba, Republic of Honduras, Raul grew up in a Caribbean environs. After receiving elementary education in his native land, he came to America to continue his studies. Like many other Latin American parents, Raul and Maria Louisa Pineda feared the political instability of their country would affect the quality of their son's education. Thus thirteen year old Raul found himself one of some 150 boarders on this campus in the mid-fifties.
Thanks to Brother Alphonso Comeaux's daily length English sessions before school, Raul quickly learned the basics of his second language within a year. Along with many other foreign boarders, the eighth grader settled into the Holy Cross that was then. With about forth brothers in residence and only a few laymen as teachers and coaches, he began the first five years of boarding on a site that resembles our own in spirit and feeling, not in face and cassock. In the old wooden St. Benedict's Hall, Raul learned that mission money came first and Spanish second; after all those foreign boarders who lapsed into their native tongue had to pay the price, twenty-five cents for those working overseas.
For the young Pineda, language differences and faculty makeup were not the only disparities that set apart the Holy Cross of three decades ago. He also endured a schedule that would test today's student by its rigorous demands. While rising at 6 am is nothing out of the ordinary for the 1986 metropolitan commuter, daily 6:30am Mass, pre-school, afternoon and evening study halls probably would mean a change of pace for today's average Holy Cross student. Of the four curricula available, (academic, scientific, business and general), Raul followed the first, the one considered college preparatory.
Holy Cross diploma in hand, Raul remained in the states for his chance at a degree of higher learning from the Jesuits on St. Charles Avenue. After four years at Loyola he received his BBA degree and began a two year stint in the professional world. At the end of that time he entered Norbertine Order at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania. His association with this monastic-teaching order stemmed from a summertime junior year exchange program with Ibero Americana University in Mexico City.
After novitiate studies in Pennsylvania he was transferred to St. Norbert Abbey in DePere, Wisconsin, for two years of theology. From there he went to Lima, Peru, where he taught and later returned to the states to finish his theological and pedagogical studies at Villanova University. Somewhere near the end of his sixth year with the religious order, he found the future calling him to a different vocation. Because he left behind what had been a meaningful lifestyle, he retained happy memories and numerous friends from his days with the Norbertines.
At last Raul returned home to Honduras to work in the family business. That stay, however, was destined to be short-lived for time and space collaborated to bring him back to the 4950 Dauphine during a vacation in 1974. Brother Robert Hampton, after meeting Raul (who had no conscious interest in returning to his alma mater), gave him a signed contract with a ten day option. On the tenth day he conceded to the Hamptonian beckoning; on August the 11th the second phase of his connection with Holy Cross began.
Raul's interest in life goes far beyond his academically full days at Holy Cross. Few here can compete with the many interests that make this man thrive, His evenings and Saturdays as a travel agent at DH Holmes confirm one of his foremost loves -experiencing the globe from one end to the other. His passion for travel has taken him to fifty-five countries, a records that speaks for itself. In his quest to explore the earth's antipodes, he searches for history, architecture, landscape and people. Naturally, Raul says that the latter is the soul of any country.
Obviously, he has tapped the souls of many countries; his numerous friends from around the world give evidence to that. Hardly a day goes without the arrival of a letter from someone in some far off corner conversely, Raul maintains his end of correspondence with a daily letter to one of his distant acquaintances. Appropriately at Christmas time, his home is decorated with about 125 cards from such places as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Ecuador, the Philippines, Norway and Turkey. (Among those cards are two special ones from each of his godchildren in Uruguay and Peru) It is no wonder that he jokes about soon needing a home computer to keep his address file straight.
While travel may seemingly overshadow Raul's other interests, they deserve credit in their own right. A devotee of music, he has a collection of some 2000 classical records. Probably the greatest demonstration of his musical avocation is his seventeen year participation in the St. Louis Cathedral Choir.
For the body, he naturally enjoys the exotic. Med-eastern and Mediterranean cuisine are among his favorites. But, he will try any of a wide variety of recipes, especially those with historic significance. Only he recently prepared chicken marengo a dish once made by Thomas Jefferson (who secured it from Napoleon's cook).
This multi-interested individual shares a deep concern for family and home. Weekly phone calls to the La Cieba keep Raul in close contact with his family and surprisingly his Christmas journey will mark his first trip home in five years.
With the unwinding of the years, home has taken on an expanded meaning. It is Honduras. It is Holy Cross. It is this city. Raul smilingly reflects, " I love New Orleans. It is a unique city with a European atmosphere. I love the mood of life here. I love the Latin tempo."
Content to be where he is, this faculty member anticipates the future with equanimity. For now his days bubble over with enthusiasm, caring and activity. There is no time for loneliness, for the life he has created has a "cup that runneth over." In the years to come he may revisit his favorite spots of Turkey, Austria and Greece. In the latter location he may even purchase a retirement place near the village of Parage for an annual seasonal sojourn.
Wherever this Holy Cross Man may traverse, the lives of his companions will be richer. Certainly, his lust for life speaks loudly to those who teach alongside him. The diversity that makes this faculty so refreshing is exemplified by its somewhat foreign, but very native son.