Braithwaite church re-opens after Hurricane Isaac - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Braithwaite church re-opens after Hurricane Isaac

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St. Andrew Baptist Church St. Andrew Baptist Church
BRAITHWAITE, LA (WVUE) -- -

A 150-year-old church in Braithwaite, flooded during Hurricane Isaac, welcomed worshippers once again Sunday. With the help of the community, St. Andrew Baptist is open to hold services but church leaders say this journey, wasn't easy.

For the first time in nearly two years, music fills St. Andrew Baptist Church.

Hurricane Isaac devastated Braithwaite, flooding homes and killing seven people. St. Andrew took on nine feet of water. Destroyed were the walls, floors and pews. Bibles and other items were spewed all around the property.

Church member Gwen Payne Tucker remembers, "It was kind of heartbreaking, you know, we were very, very sad."

The one hundred or so church members knew they wanted to re-build but having lost their pastor just one year before, there was no one to lead them on the journey. Payne Tucker explains, "We finally just came together and we said, we are going to do this on our own, we've got to do it."

Money came from a variety of sources. Elder Anthony Jeanmarie says, "Donations, fighting with flood company insurance, it took a lot of hard work from the members, the leaders."

Eventually, enough was raised to re-build St. Andrew.

Ministers and congregations of neighboring churches joined in Sunday's celebration because they provided much needed support in the months after the storm. Church member Nancy Cooper says, "Words cannot express my gratitude to the people that took us in and aided us in whatever we needed."

For so many church members, working toward re-building was especially hard because they were personally affected by Isaac and had other priorities. "They've lost homes, they've lost loved ones, re-located," explained Jeanmarie.

Although the church has a new look, these members aren't angry. "Satan took the building but not the church, we're the church," said Cooper.

Instead, they're grateful, to finally usher in this day and to have a place of worship, once again.

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