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Lutheran Invasion

There’s some 37,000 Lutheran kids volunteering in the city of New Orleans this summer. I was surprised to discover approximately half of them working next door Saturday morning.


I think they were mostly from New Jersey.

Their project: gutting Craig’s house. Craig was our next door neighbor, but he’s now living in Texas. He never returned after Katrina, except to remove some of his possessions, most of which were destroyed by the floodwaters.

I talked to him on the phone a couple months ago, expressing my concern about the continuing deterioration of his property, especially with regard to how it was affecting us and the quality of life on the block.

Lo and behold, he agreed to donate his house to a worthy cause, if only I could find one. I asked around, and some folks I respect recommended the Preservation Resource Center’s Operation Comeback. They acquire homes, renovate them, and sell them to first-time home buyers.

I hadn’t mentioned any of this this publicly before because I didn’t want to jinx the deal. I knew Craig might have a hard time letting go of his place. After all, one gets attached to a building after living in it for a couple decades.

But apparently the deal went through. Way to go, Craig.

Which brings us back to those Lutherans.


I had never seen the inside of Craig’s house before, yet still it brought back memories — memories of cleaning out our own house back in ’05.

The space between our house and Craig’s was filled with weeds twelve feet high or higher, not to mention a variety of shrubs, trees and other plants. No lie — were able to look up at the weeds from our second story window.


These Lutheran volunteers made short work of it in a single morning.

(By the way, these are ELCA kids. I was raised LCMS. The doctrinal differences between these two Lutheran denominations are “a source of great sadness.”)

I was amazed to see there was still so much furniture in the house.


I had thought most everything had been removed. This was some nice furniture once upon a time. It was kind of sad to see it sitting on the curb. I rescued an incense holder from the pile. But it surely made me happy to see some progress on this house. The restoration of this property could have a huge positive effect on this block.

Published inNeighborsNew OrleansPix


  1. anthony anthony

    I am glad things are getting done next door.

    I can’t help but read this story and think there are 5 other stories and questions that lead from this.

    Like: Why does it take someone else coming in to get this work done when we clearly have our share of people doing nothing?


    What is the market going to be like for these old places given the amount of new buildings going up on Tulane?


    What do we do with the 1000s of others that dot our our city?

    This is one of two things (the other being deconstruction ) the PRC does that I support and doesn’t annoy me, and I think is being actually constructive rather than counter-productive.

    Anyway… I’m glad for you. I have some buildings next to me being attended to right now and it’s a whole different world when people actually commit the resources and time to fixing up their place.

  2. Ruth Ruth

    Be prepared! The National Youth Gathering for the LCMS is next July 17-21. Guess where? New Orleans! This gathering will probably be somewhat smaller but will have an equally important impact on the lives and citizens of New Orleans.

  3. Brooks Brooks

    I wish the Lutherans (and everyone else) would stop referring to homosexuality as a “lifestyle.” Lifestyle involves choice; sexual orientation does not.

  4. David David

    The Operation Comeback effort may mean good things for your block. It looks like they do good work.

  5. As a certified moldHater, I can’t believe that was next door to you for years. Even seeing the furniture on the sidewalk is scary. I guess I am not cut out to be a returning NOLA Katrina survivor.

  6. Dave Z. Dave Z.

    Regarding Brooks’s comment, I suspect that, rather than simply a “choice” or “lifestyle,” homosexuality is a tendency, like other behaviors – good and bad. Just a thought for consideration…

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