Guest / Limited Access /

On a bright Saturday morning in February, pastor, politician, and entrepreneur Leonard Lucas brunches with a trucker headhunter named Joe at the Marriott in downtown New Orleans. Joe's business needs truck drivers by the dozens in the city's post-Hurricane Katrina economy, minimal experience necessary. The pay is fabulous: $2,000 a week.

Lucas aims to link his headhunter buddy with 500 native New Orleans residents and their church leaders, scattered cross-country and yearning for home. They can't return without a regular paycheck.

Lucas believes New Orleans is going to be rebuilt. "Who's going to do it?" he asks, wearing his now—trademark blue sweat suit. "The whole fabric of our city has been destroyed. Who better to reweave it than its churches? God sent the storm to bless us, not curse us. As a church, we have to fight for the soul of our city."

The battle for the soul of New Orleans is on. Lucas is one foot soldier among a fast-forming network of Christians (pastors, businesspeople, and government leaders) working for lasting transformation. This network includes Houston-based disaster pastor Jerry Davis. His mobile relief ministry rolled into town on the September morning that the evacuated city reopened. It includes New Orleans Christian businesswoman Shelia Dixon. It also includes local pastors, such as Bruce Davenport of St. John #5 Baptist, the only church operating in its part of the Seventh Ward. Katrina wiped out St. John #5's extensive tutoring, housing, drug rehab, unwed mothers, computer skills, and HIV/AIDS programs.

Countless other New Orleans pastors remain out of pocket nationwide, shepherding fragments of their flocks. More than 250,000 people still have not returned to New Orleans (there were 464,000 ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAmerica's Founding May Not Have Been Christian, but It Sure Wasn't Anti-Christian
America's Founding May Not Have Been Christian, but It Sure Wasn't Anti-Christian
An atheist philosopher ignores religion’s place in Revolutionary America.
TrendingNew Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
New Executive Orders on LGBT Discrimination Don't Exempt Religious Orgs
(UPDATED) But Obama won't withdraw memo on religious discrimination.
Editor's PickIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
Comments
Christianity Today
The Saints Go Marching Back
hide thisMay May

In the Magazine

May 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.