Three years ago Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. Now another storm is heading toward the Crescent City. Residents are taking this hurricane seriously and are making necessary preparations while praying for Gustav to go away. After Katrina, no one wants to throw a hurricane party.

It’s hard to relate to the kind of panic and fear that hurricanes generate unless you are living on the coast. New Orleans, situated below sea level in a bowl of sorts, is particularly vunerable to the wind and heavy rains. There’s really no place for the water to go. Lori and I went through a flood while living in New Orleans and the water rose in rapid time. The water poured into our apartment near the University of New Orleans. The pumps can’t handle the pressure of moving the water out. While a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I was told (along with all the faculty, students, and staff) to leave town with a hurricane on the way. Anytime a storm gets into the Gulf, New Orleans starts taking notice.

I received an email from Dr. Chuck Kelley, president of NOBTS, today along with hundreds of other alumni. He indicated the school’s main campus closed today at 3pm and will reopen next Thursday. It appears that classes will continue perhaps online. More importantly, the president outlined the steps the school was taking to protect the students, secure the campus, and continue the mission of the school. I haven’t taken any particular interest in the school, especially after the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message came into effect. I don’t feel like there is any connection to the school anymore, now that many of the professors I knew are gone. Upon receiving the email today and seeing the storm on the Weather Channel, however,  I have thought about NOBTS.

New Orleans lost many of its churches after Katrina, and the city hasn’t reached the population it once had prior to the terrible storm. While media coverage has diminished, the challenges and problems associated with rebuilding are still being addressed and in some cases only now so. The city can’t handle another devasting storm, so I am prayerful that the hurricane will diminish in strength prior to landfall.