Over the next 12 months we’ll be taking a deeper look at the past decade since Katrina on the Gulf Coast and into the future with a regular blog series, K+10.
Since our creation in 2006, the campus of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church along Chef Menteur Hwy in New Orleans East has been our home. While some things have stayed the same (the laundry room), others have seen significant change over the past nine years. Here’s a look past-and-present.
The Front Sign
The original sign included another volunteer camp, Bethlehem, which was located on the property next door. The sign was blown down during Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and was relocated to a position on the front fence, where it remains today.
Classrooms / Bunk Rooms
Prince of Peace received between 18 inches and several feet of floodwater after the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina.
Sections of the school building received roof damage as well.
With significant contributions from Laborers for Christ, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and volunteer groups, the school facility was restored and converted into volunteer housing.
The Back Hallway
A look down the downstairs hallway in the fall of 2005, still partially flooded. The waterline can be seen on the right wall.
The same hallway after restoration.
The Back Lot
Until the buildings were restored, most volunteers and staff stayed in RVs parked along the back drive.
The back lot was also used to store shipping containers, tools and equipment, and has seen a tremendous amount of modification over the years.
In 2010, a large number of converted shipping containers were brought on site to serve as housing for volunteers, as we welcomed Capdau Elementary School into the school building while their main facility was being built.
A year later, Capdau moved on and we moved back into the school building. That also meant Orphan Grain Train, a nonprofit from Nebraska, could pick up their mobile dormitories and relocate them where needed next.
The one thing in the back lot that never moved was our secondary shower facility, here in 2007 next to our first mobile kitchen.
Our first kitchen was a specially-converted heavy-duty semi trailer from Orphan Grain Train. They certainly put the “truck” in “food truck.”
We discovered just how heavy it was in 2008, while attempting to move the trailer out of the path of Hurricane Gustav. It had sunk nearly a foot into the soft earth underneath, and required a semi and a special tow truck to break free, not to mention a bunch of digging.
That winter, the kitchen found its new home out front, this time on concrete. Yep, that’s real snow- the only time it’s snowed in New Orleans in the past decade.
In 2010 we moved the OGT kitchen to a third location…
…but it was only there for a short while, as duty called elsewhere in the country. Farewell old friend!
Fortunately, we had another kitchen trailer up our sleeve which had superbly served five years at Camp Biloxi.
Finally, in 2013, we completed work on a full kitchen facility for Mrs. Lorraine.
The school gym was our first dining hall. Here, Pastor Ed, our first Camp Director, makes announcements before a meal in 2007.
Once we moved our dining operations into the church building in 2010, the gym became a lounge and multipurpose meeting place. We also added a fire sprinkler system and additional fire protection in order to expand our volunteer housing to include four rooms off the gym, Broadmoor, Gentilly, Uptown and Bywater.
In 2015 we finished renovating the stage to be used as a… stage again.
Heading over to the church in 2006…
…and in 2015.
Prince of Peace’s sanctuary has remained almost identical over the past decade.
With regular volunteer meals, two church services, choir practices, group meetings and reflections in the evenings, and the New Orleans East Senior Center meeting during weekdays, Prince of Peace makes a strong case for one of the busiest churches around.
The Pipe Organ
Prince of Peace had just finished installing one of the largest pipe organs in all of New Orleans on Saturday, August 27, 2005. Here is what it looked like after repairs were underway in 2006 after sustaining flooding following Katrina.
Volunteers assist professional organ designer and tuner Rich Schneider in reinstalling the largest Great pipes after repairs in 2006.
The organ was brought back to full operational condition as of 2009 and continues to be used today. Organist Kim Jovanovich will sometimes give concerts at breakfasts… a variation on New Orleans’ classic jazz brunch.
The T-Shirt Lounge
Finally, what used to be our original tool room was converted into a lounge in 2010.
Over time, groups began to put up their tshirts on the walls…
…and now it’s formally known as “The Tshirt Lounge,” with over 200 shirts and counting.
And so concludes a look back at the changes to Camp Restore’s facility at Prince of Peace over the past decade. We are incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to serve with so many energized volunteers, and hope the next ten years of service will be every bit as impactful as the past decade.