Dear Julia,
After waiting so long to see either FEMA or a letter carrier, I’ve been wondering about St. Expedite. Did his name really come from a shipping label? Or was he a real Roman Catholic saint? I’m not Catholic, but the thought of someone being able to expedite anything these days is quite attractive, so I thought I should ask.
Wilma Gaglietti

Although many local people, some of whom are members of Spiritualist churches, travel to Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel to ask St. Expedite for his help in quickly resolving problems,
St. Expedite may never have really existed. He actually isn’t a saint, either, having been stricken from the Roman Catholic Church’s official saints roster in the early 1900s.
Depicted as a Roman soldier, St. Expedite is usually shown holding or pointing to a banner proclaiming hodie (“today”). With his foot, he crushes a crow that holds in its beak a banner that reads cras (“tomorrow”). Before church officials removed him from the list, his feast day was April 19, the day he was said to have been martyred at what is now Malatya, Turkey.
There is an enduring tale about a crate arriving in New Orleans, bearing a “rush” label reading “expedite.” Once the crate is unpacked, it is found to contain a saint’s statue with no nameplate, so the recipient decide the label is actually the statue’s name. The story exists in several versions, one of which claims that nuns in a European convent accepted the statue’s delivery.
However amusing these stories may be, they are recently concocted tall tales appended to a figure who had nothing to do with New Orleans. St. Expedite’s name and year of martyrdom appear in the Martyrolegium Hieroymianum, a liturgical calendar dating from the fifth or sixth century. Statues and veneration of this controversial figure have been seen and practiced in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, as well as New Orleans.
Dear Julia:
I have traveled to your beautiful city for more than 30 years. Did Katrina stop me? No! I was there in December 2005. While I was very sad about everything, I’m also grateful that there is much left. My question is: There’s an old building on the corner of St. Peter and Dauphine streets. I believe the address is 701 St. Peter. It’s a mostly wood and block construction. I was told that the working girls from the district used to buy their “dope” potions here. True? Could you please give me the history of this building with the curved, wooden balcony?
Thank you very much for your help. In closing, let me tell all your readers to spend time in New Orleans now! Stay in a hotel, patronize restaurants, spend some money. You can still have an unbelievable time. This city needs us all.
Robert Furlong

The corner building actually has addresses fronting on both streets. It is 901- 903 St. Peter as well as 717- 707 Dauphine. Originally a Creole cottage built in the 1820s or ’30s, the building has been heavily modified since its construction. An 1896 fire-insurance map shows that by the Victorian era a wooden second story with wraparound gallery had been added. Further modifications have taken place since that time. A 1962 photograph shows the building was once the Dauphine Grocery.
Although your allegation that prostitutes may have purchased drugs at that location could be true, I found no evidence proving whether the story is a dupe or the straight dope. It is certain-
When your miracle absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, turn to St. Expedite.