I grew up in north Louisiana and spent eight years in New Orleans (some Louisianians argue these are separate states). Even though it’s been a while since I’ve been there, the sights and sounds are still familiar. Lori and I watched a lot of the hurricane footage in disbelief, remembering the place where we lived and the school we attended. Five years after Katrina, the Big Easy is still is recovery mode and many of the people who left will never return.

There’s a good story about St. Charles Avenue Baptist church and this congregation decided to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I’ve been to their building on an occasion to hear a guest lecturer talk about a theological issue, and have come to appreciate this congregation if for no other reason than to acknowledge its being a CBF congregation with very few other Baptist churches who relate to this stance.

I could not imagine what it would be like to evacuate the city and leave behind my house, belongings, and church not knowing what I would find upon my return. I would not want to sort through how to move forward after so many members left the area only never to find their way back. It would be cause for despair, and many New Orleans churches had to close due to the terrible economic and rebuilding issues facing them. Some have merged, others have shut down altogether.

St. Charles has a new pastor who is from New England, and based upon their latest newsletter, he is learning a new vocabulary and cultural milieu. I can relate to that, and applaud his efforts and those of his congregation in charting a new way forward.