French teachers react to Notre Dame Cathedral fire

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)– French teachers in the Tennessee Valley are reacting to the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Inside Notre Dame High School on Tuesday afternoon, French teacher Bonnie Townsend gave her lesson.

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After Monday’s tragedy at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, she thought it was important for students to learn the background.

“This gives me a little bit of chance to do a little bit of art history, architectural history to really understand the significance of that particular building. It is a masterpiece,” Townsend said.

Over the years, Townsend has been to the Cathedral many times, including trips with her students.



“Sometimes when we would be there a mass would be going on and our kids would know what was going on, because the mass is universal so they got to participate in that,” she said.

Over at UTC,  French professor Karen Casebier was devastated when she heard about the fire.

She says it is hard to describe the significance of the iconic building.

“I don’t have anything to compare it to. It is nothing. It is nothing and it is everything. It is part of ones daily existence if you live in Paris as breathing,” Casebier said.

She says she will miss visiting.

“It just seems strange that it is going to be closed for awhile, until they can rebuild, until they can restore. So it just seems strange to not have that as a landscape,” Casebier said.

Townsend says at first it was horrible seeing the destruction but now she is looking ahead.

“Yesterday it was just nothing but sadness, and today there is hope,” she said.

Notre Dame High School is thinking about creating a French exchange program.