Action Report: 8-year battle to rebuild Lower 9th Ward church

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 8:43 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

Gwen Adams can now put the key in the lock of the Greater Beulah Land Baptist Church. No lights yet, but work is nearly complete, the dedication ceremony occurs in two weeks.

"My heart will be bursting, I will be overflowed with joy, I will probably be tearful," said Adams.

Pictures of the original 1956 church were destroyed along with the building by Katrina, but they have vivid memories of a community of faith.

"I was a teenager then, and my family was here, my mother, my grandmother, all my aunts, my auntees was here," said church treasurer Mary Bush.

"It wasn't just a church, it was a church family," said Adams. "So after Katrina, was that family shattered? After Katrina that family was scattered."

"When I came back, it was just three of us, and it was upstairs, and it rained in the roof," said Pastor Arthur Harris.

Pastor Arthur Harris holds church services in his basement, while he and the congregation fought for years to build a new Greater Beulah Land.

"Oh it's been real tough," said Bush. "It's been real tough, they've been giving us the runaround, espeically City Hall."

"Everybody is a part of it, and guess what?" asked Pastor Harris. "When I get tired, or disgusted, guess what, there they are."

At the dedication they'll be sitting in chairs, because they can't afford pews. It has been such a financial struggle to get this church rebuilt, and that struggle continues.

"We don't have our kitchen as we used to," said Adams. "We're planning on, if we can get some grant funding to do an addition so we can do a nursery and build a kitchen."

It's just one more challenge, but in two weeks, their church will will open.

"Oh, you just don't know," said Mary Bush. "I'm so glad to be back here, in the Lower 9."
 

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