Andrea and I just got back from New Orleans a couple weeks ago. We took some time to continue to get to know the area we will launch Urban Outreach: New Orleans in. God began to reveal more of his plans for us. Since we had a missions service on our Anniversary we decided to take a couple days to become “tourists” in New Orleans. As a result, this trip ended up being very defining for us on our journey.
We have heard people tell us multiple times on this trip and previous trips “you have to love this city if you are going to live here.” I always acknowledged our love for New Orleans but I never could specifically answer the question: “Why?” Our new friend Wayne Northup really made me search for that answer. God had given us a burden, a heart and a calling to New Orleans and we loved New Orleans and it’s people because of that. I asked God to help us put our love for New Orleans to words. That prayer made this trip different. As Andrea and I spent time as tourists in New Orleans we were able to put words to our love for New Orleans. To use the official terminology, we love New Orleans because of the “Lagniappe (or extra).” It’s the “extra” little things that cause us to love New Orleans. Its the unique architecture, the food, the culture that make it special. The people make it extra special. The people cause us to fall in love with New Orleans. It’s the husband and wife you say hello to at the zoo, that begin to have a conversation with you, followed by a detailed tour of the bayou section at the zoo because they live in the bayou region. They give you recipe’s and cooking tips for Cajun cuisine. It’s the brass band playing your favorite jazz song along the river walk as you exit off the Steamboat Natchez River Tour. It’s the friendly wave you get as you drive through the inner city from the woman sitting on her front porch. It’s the guy behind the counter at the “Po-Boy” shop that tells you all about his life, and the stories behind the shop.
We love New Orleans because of the people that call it home. No matter what their circumstances the people may face each day, they still bring that “extra” to the history, culture, and architecture that make the city so exciting, friendly and loving! We can’t wait to bring the love of Christ to not just the people God called us to minister to, but to the people and the city we love! Come with us on the journey!