“I CAME TO SEE WHAT GOD HAD DONE”
The city is allowing residents of the Lower 9th Ward–that most devastated portion of New Orleans–to return only by bus. Gray Line Tours has regularly scheduled runs in and out of that portion of the city. The hourlong tours leave each 30 minutes, from 8 am to 4 pm, ending on Sunday. The area is so dangerous, authorities are not allowing riders to get off and walk around to investigate their destroyed homes or neighborhood. The media says they are still finding dead bodies in houses, two or three a day.
Friday’s Times-Picayunes recorded some of the comments of those seeing the area for the first time. “This used to be a park.” “Houses sitting on top of cars. Fridges on houses. I’m hoping and praying there was some lives saved.” “Nothing there. Like there was never nothing there.” “I came to see what God had done.”
God has done a lot of things here, and He’s still at work.
Greg Hand, pastor of the Vieux Carre Baptist Church on Dauphine Street, one block over from Bourbon, called me Friday. “You need to come see our place,” he said. The Louisiana Baptist Builders have torn out the termite-infested wood throughout much of his building and rebuilt it. “They moved our kitchen into a larger room, and are laying tile. It’s just gorgeous.” The builders are preparing the small church’s facilities to host church groups coming to witness and minister in the Quarter.
Greg said, “Oh, and on the third floor, the workers uncovered a lot of baking pans. We knew that this used to be a bakery in the late 1800s and here is the evidence.” I asked him to hang on to them; I want to see them.
The owner of the bar down the street invited Greg to attend the poetry reading the evening before. What was that like? “Honestly, I’m not sure,” Greg laughed. “Poetry in a bar is not my thing. The owner introduced me to the twenty customers and said if anyone had a problem, I was a good one to talk with. A lady came over and said she needs help in cleaning out her place, so we have a team that’s going over to help her. This may be a breakthrough.” Pray for Greg and Vieux Carre Baptist Church.