Some of my life I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA. I loved that part. The first time, I was young, Pre-K – Kindergarten, my Dad was in Seminary. The second time we moved back when I was in middle school and early high school. New Orleans is a city with it’s own heart beat and it’s own soul. It’s people live and love hard. There is no where like it in this world. God did not forsake or forget New Orleans. God loves New Orleans, just like God loves all of His creation. My Dad was the minister at First Baptist Church of New Orleans when it was on St. Charles street. For those of y’all that don’t know, that is the perfect parade spot for my favorite parades. If you haven’t been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you don’t know what a parade is! I remember when we moved to Tallahassee. MY brother and I went to a parade. We watched the whole thing in silence. When it finished we just looked at each other and walked away. Carnival is an excitement that I have never felt anywhere else.
It is not about alcohol either. I didn’t drink when I lived there. New Orleans is about food, music, art and culture. Sure, people drink. Of course they do, but it is SO much more than that. I loved living there. I don’t want to move back. Tallahassee is my home now, but New Orleans shaped me. I learned who I was in that city. I learned what love was there. Not romance love, but a Christlike love. It is interesting to be one of the few Baptist churches in a Catholic city in the heart of Uptown. You don’t tolerate others. You love others, the way Christ called you to. NEw Orleans is not a shy, bashful city. It’s like me,or really vice versa. Loud and proud. Imagine though if I said, “I tolerate you, come to my church and hear about my Jesus.” Um, no. Just because someone else’s sin is more visible than yours, doesn’t make it any worse. Jesus created everyone. He LOVES everyone. He died on the cross to save EVERYONE’s sins. Not just those living this will. we are not called to judge. We are just called to tell them about His love.
There is no where like New Orleans to teach you how to do that. That was our mission field. We had porta-potties on the church lawn to raise money for our trips. We raised over $7,000 one year. We also got to show people God’s love. We aren’t saying we agree with your sin, we are saying we love you. We love you because God loves us.
We had a little cook-out this weekend with Travis’ firefighter co-workers. You know I had to have some Mardi Gras flare! I listen to Zydeco and other New Orleans music this time of year. I did eat almost an entire King Cake in a day. A part of me will always be in New Orleans. Always. It makes me the unique, loving caring person, for all peoples, I am today. (Well, that and my awesome parentals.) I need to make an effort to go “home” more. My old church isn’t on St. Charles anymore. I have little to no friends there, but the amazing thing about the people of New Orleans is you make life long friends, instantly. Love people, find the best in everyone. Don’t just tolerate.
Also, I am a die-hard Saints fan. Who Dat! Vivienne is, too!