Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina updates...New Orleans reminiscinces...

I've been following my friend Don Elbourne's blog with concern and interest. Don is a Baptist pastor who, pre-Katrina, lived in New Orleans and pastored in Lakeshore, Mississippi.

Don and his scattered congregation need monetary and prayer support. The pictures of what's left of his church are heart-rending. Please add Don and his church to your prayer list, and give if you possibly can.

To make matters worse, Don's wife was robbed the other day, and the thief took her purse, including her drivers' license and the couple's credit cards. "Ya’ll pray for us," Don writes. "This is tough and overwhelming, but God will see us through."

Some good news for one blogger...

I had told you that David of Espresso Roast was stressed out because he and his wife were separated from their five-year-old son, who had been visiting grandparents in Mississippi. David and his wife knew Jacob was OK, but they needed, understandably, to have him physically with him.

David posted in my comments section this past Friday: "Thanks for the post and the prayers, Cindy. Yesterday we got Jacob home safe and sound! It was a bit stressful, but God was faithful to provide us peace and assurance of his care."

David blogged: "We didn't realize how much stress we were feeling about that until we actually were within an hour of being reunited with him. It was such a relief to see all of them tired but in good shape."

A local church is taking Biblical mandates seriously...

A church in my town is getting serious about helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Morning Star Baptist Church has sent their pastors to Lafayette, Louisiana, with plans to bring back at least one evacuee family. Other plans include a blood drive and a campaign to raise money for air mattresses. Find out more here.

The church's site quotes Pastor Roger Price of Lafayette: "The desperate need here is for mature Christians to put their arms around the shoulders of these people and weep with them...to sit down with victims and let them talk, then offer words of comfort, prayer, and a witness for Jesus Christ."

This is the home church of my blogging friend Joy McCarnan, and I'm happy to pass on the information.

A New Orleans memoir

When I heard New Orleans' deputy police chief say "this city is destroyed" on national television, I couldn't help but feel profound sadness.

Yes, I know there was probably enough wickedness in the city to more than rival the toxic cesspool of water now flowing through the streets. But what city can say "We are without sin...we don't deserve judgment"?

There was also plenty of beauty and innocent joie de vivre in that city. I always wanted to take my husband there, because I'll never forget a vacation I took there with my parents when I was a teen-ager, circa mid-1970's.

I was charmed by the distinctive architecture, the honey-rich drawl of the N'awlins natives, by jazz notes floating out of a bar in the middle of the day. I remember my mom getting her portrait done by a hippie artist on Jackson Square. She still has that portrait, and it actually begins to capture something of her unique beauty.

I remember visiting a Civil War museum and renting bikes to ride through Audubon Park. (Is Audubon Park ok? What about the D-Day museum--my daughter has always wanted to go there; is it destroyed?)

I'll never forget our first day of touring the city. My dad parked our car, we got out, and one of us spotted a wad of dollar bills on the sidewalk. No one any where nearby--no way to find out to whom it belonged. It wasn't a big amount, but we accepted it as a gift from above--a lovely little benediction to send us off on our day.

And don't even get me started on the food. We had muffaletta sandwiches from a deli my aunt had told us about. They were amazing. Delectable beignets from the Cafe du Monde. We had lunch at Antoine's. We had incredibly delicious gumbo and jambalaya at a nondescript-looking but awesome little restaurant on Bayou Gauche.

Houston Chronicle writer Alison Cook writes a requiem for the tastes of New Orleans. Cook has her own memories of the Cafe du Monde: "Chicory coffee au lait — was there a more magical brew to be had anywhere? — exerted its lure from the porch of the CafĂ© du Monde, where I would sit under churning ceiling fans, watching waiters pour with a fine flourish as I devoured an absurd number of fried-dough beignets. The more powdered sugar ended up on my clothes, the better life seemed."

And (hat tip to Lisa Samson), Erin of Biscotti Brain has her own memories of signficant milestones in her life that took place in the Big Easy.

Will it be rebuilt? Will it flourish again one day, maybe even better than before? I pray so. I would certainly not want to lose a city that has been such a major part of so many people's lives and memories.

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