The Rev. Michael Jacques, the pastor at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, died overnight at the hospital of an apparent heart attack, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans said Friday. Jacques, 69, was admitted to the hospital on Thursday evening.
Active in the Treme neighborhood and All Congregations Together, a church-based group that agitated for a more responsive government response to community problems, Jacques came to New Orleans in 1984. A white priest who grew up in Maine, Jacques led a majority African-American congregation in a church infused with New Orleans traditions.
After Hurricane Katrina, Jacques became a more controversial figure to some New Orleans Catholics as a chief architect of a reorganization that led to the closure of a number of churches in the city.