Jazzfest last weekend was not rained out, but anything else would have been. In the downpour, people stood in puddles to their ankles to soak up Billy Joel and other musical offerings. Joel looked heavenward and said to the Lord, “Is that all you’ve got? Bring it on!”
Seems like we heard our president say something similar just before Iraq became its own kind of quagmire.
The people who run our convention center–the official name for which is the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center–have decided that does not communicate and they want to tweak it to become the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Not any shorter, but clearer, they say. That sounded great to almost everyone except the Morial family. Ernest “Dutch” Morial was our city’s first African-American mayor and the father of our most recent mayor, Marc Morial, who wrote the letter for the family protesting the change.
Officials insist they’re not formally changing the name, but will refer to the convention center in this “new” way for marketing purposes. That’s not good enough for the family and their supporters. Some are threatening that they will encourage Essence and other festivals/conventions of African-Americans to go elsewhere if this is not reversed.
A name is just a symbol? Symbols can be mighty important to some folks and to all of us at one time or another, we should never forget.
These are good days for the New Orleans Hornets, our NBA franchise. For the first time ever, the New Orleans teams advances to the second round in the playoffs, after beating the Dallas Mavericks 4 games to 1 in a best-of-seven series. Next, we will face the San Antonio Spurs, as I get it. Fans are ecstatic, packing out the New Orleans Arena. Last night–Tuesday–coach Byron Scott was named the NBA Coach of the Year.
Some fan said it’s just like Mardi Gras all over again, all the enthusiasm.
We’re having a “New Orleans Summit” at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Georgia, this Thursday and Friday, May 1 and 2. Last Monday night in our annual Spring meeting, our association voted to adopt a lengthy list of adjustments and changes being recommended by a strategy team which has been working for a year. Now, some of us will be sitting down with leadership of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and NAMB to work out a possible partnership for the next 10 years or more. Representing BAGNO will be pastors Fred Luter, David Crosby, John Faull, and Dennis Watson. Mike Flores and I will go along to carry their bags. David Hankins and Mike Canady from LBC will be at the table.
In asking for continuing help from LBC and NAMB, New Orleans is not unaware of our massive debt to Southern Baptists through these (and other) agencies. We have been the grateful recipient of many millions of dollars of the Lord’s money and untold thousands of man-hours from Baptists who have flowed our way to help rebuild the city and restore our churches. In the process, thousands of our residents have heard the message of God–after seeing it in action–and have prayed with their visitors and benefactors to receive Christ as Savior.