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“We’re very grateful for the Hope Center and especially Michele,” Andrea Robertson says, referencing Michele Louviere, Hope Center’s clinical director and a former North American Mission Board missionary.

“We sit in really dark (psychological) places with people,” Louviere says. “They naturally want hope. I personally have had clients who were not saved, but in the course of counseling accepted Christ.”

Hope Center provided 12,000 hours of direct services last year, impacting clients from 10 parishes (counties), Louviere says. The center uses 40 counselors, including 25 master’s level students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The parent organization, HHCD, has an $800,000 operating budget this year, drawing from grants, a sliding fee scale and fundraisers, says Freddie Landry, HHCD executive director. The organization’s Christian foundation draws many to its programs, Landry says.

“Most of our clients do come to us looking for the faith-based counseling, but we don’t require that,” Landry says. “We are always encouraging our clients to go to church, either at our church or another church. Our goal is to bring hope and healing to the hurting people in our community.”

Deploying 100 volunteers weekly in a wide spectrum of ministries, First Baptist New Orleans brings hope and healing through its Care Effect initiative. Through its Baptist Crossroads project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, First Baptist has built 71 homes in New Orleans, utilizing volunteer labor. Baptist Crossroads was created before Hurricane Katrina with the hope of providing 40 homes to 40 low-income working families. Crosby’s vision expanded after the storm, which destroyed 90,000 housing units.

Another Care Effect ministry is Fuel the Future, in which First Baptist gives backpacks of groceries to 200 low-income students at four area schools on weekends and during holiday breaks, supplementing the free lunches students receive during the week.

“We have significant childhood hunger in Louisiana and particularly here in New Orleans,” Crosby says. “We try to feed them over the weekend when they don’t have breakfast and lunch provided at school.”

These New Orleans churches have watched as their city has struggled to come back after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. They’ve been there walking alongside residents before and after the storm. New Orleans Baptists want to see their city flourish. But most of all they want to see their city know Christ and make Him known. Demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human need while sharing Christ is key to this kind of community transformation.

Stories like these in New Orleans are being played out across North America as Southern Baptists are compelled by the gospel of Jesus Christ to love neglected neighbors, children and communities. OM

Diana Chandler is a writer for Baptist Press.


To learn more about the LoveLoud ministry evenglism initiative, visit and click on LoveLoud.


The city of New Orleans and Southern Baptists have a fond affection for one another, especially since the days following Hurricane Katrina. In a 2011 survey conducted by Turner Research on behalf of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, 65.3 percent of New Orleans residents surveyed said they would be open to Baptists coming to their home and inviting them to church.

Southern Baptists were considered the most favorable compared to other denominations listed on the survey. When asked about how they personally feel about the denominations listed, only 10 percent indicated negative feelings toward Southern Baptists.

The disaster relief efforts of Southern Baptists during Katrina were a driving influence in this survey. Southern Baptists efforts were noticed and opened a window for sharing the gospel in a city where 47.5 percent have never been told how to become a Christian.

In what was one of the worst natural disasters to ever occur on American soil, God honored the efforts of Southern Baptists and the results are a fond affection and openness that will prayerfully lead to many in this great American city coming to saving faith in Christ.

John Hebert, team leader for missions and ministries at the Louisiana Baptist Convention

ON MISSION • Summer 2012 23

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