On Tuesday, August 28, 2012 Hurricane Isaac made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. We felt the brunt of it on Wednesday, August 29, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina claimed 1,833 lives, flooded 80% of New Orleans and was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The good news is this has not been as bad as Katrina. We nevertheless grieve with the families of the four people who have lost their lives in Isaac so far.

Word from our ten ELCA congregations in New Orleans indicates that quite a few people’s homes have flooded. Lutherans like Tina and A.J. Guillot lost their home in Katrina, only to lose their new home again this week, seven years later to the day, when 12 feet of water came streaming in. There will be many stories like this. It’s too early to tell the full extent of the damage in hard-hit parishes (counties) like Plaquemines Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish and Tammany Parish.

Power is still out over most of the metropolitan area, but 10,000 workers have been deployed from 24 states to get the lights, power and air conditioning back on. Mercifully, it is still cloudy and 86 degrees in New Orleans.

At least one congregation has had significant flooding: Lutheran Church of the Galilean in LaPlace (http://www.lutheranlaplace.com/). Members have not been able to access the church building yet. They are hoping to get in today. I and a group from the synod will be headed there as soon as I-10 is open, now that New Orleans has lifted the curfew. Many have offered support and assistance, including Bishop Hanson and Lutheran Disaster Response. Those desiring to give can donate to Lutheran Disaster Response which supports case work in domestic disasters, or to support congregations send checks to the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod (12941 I-45 North Freeway, Suite 210, Houston, Texas 77060.) Mark your check “Isaac.” You may donate electronically HERE.

We give thanks for all who have offered their words of prayer and encouragement during this crisis. Thank you for being the church together, ELCA!

(Photo Michael DeMocker, New Orleans Times Picayune, www.nola.com)