This morning, January 20, 2018 was a big day in New Orleans. It was a chilly 38° when we got up. This afternoon the Saints were playing the Rams in the NFC Playoffs.

The gospel reading was the Wedding at Cana, a text about transformation. Chalmette had a population of 32,000 before Katrina. Pre-K as they say. After Katrina, Chalmette population had fallen to 16,000. Half. Today it’s around 22,000. I spoke to a woman this morning who lived in Tennessee for seven years after Katrina, because, having lost everything, she couldn’t afford to move home until 2012.

Gethsemane had suffered about six feet of water after Katrina. Many churches have closed. The LCMS church closed. The Methodist church is just hanging on. Only two of Chalmette’s seven Cathioic churches are still open. But Chalmatians are a hearty lot. Gethsemane is going and growing.

Their preschool has 116 children. Their food pantry is a vital service, especially during this longest-ever government shutdown. With the Chalmette National Battlefield nearby, Pastor Sandra Barnes says several furloughed federal employees have been by looking for food. Gethsemane does ashes to go for 100 on Ash Wednesday. I’m grateful for Gethsemane’s ministry.