I have spent much of the past month calling ever-busy phone numbers, e-mailing friends who might have heard from other mutual friends, and searching the Internet for aerial photographs of my old neighborhood. Was my former church still standing? My seminary? My friends' homes?
I have spent much of the past month remembering. I lived in New Orleans nine years as seminary student and pastor. In that time, the grimy gumbo of cultures became my home. I became enamored of the food and music. I was befriended by people I hope will remain close for my lifetime. I came to care deeply about the place. I also became aware of the depth of New Orleans' poverty—and its breadth, especially in Orleans parish where I lived and ministered.
And I have spent much of the past month pondering the effects of one, now two hurricanes; the horrific loss of life and the state of my former church, whose current pastor—rescued from the roof of his home—now ministers in exile. So many members are ...1