NorthShore Church Building

September 6, 2005

After doing what we could with treecutting, we headed toward NorthShore Church at the request of Pastor Larry McEwen to take some pictures. We had been sort of avoiding going there because we didn't really want to see it. But now here we were.

The storm surge wave from Hurricane Katrina had hit the building on the side opposite the entrance, and had just punched in the side of the building. You can see the water mark at about five feet where the water stood after the initial surge.

The powerful wave washed across the worship center and pushed out the wall at the entrance.

Having punched the wall inward upon entry to the building, the wave then punched the wall outward when it came out, shattering the glass at the church entrance.

The storm surge crushed this door and made a shambles of all the offices. With water standing at five feet, very little was salvagable. We did retrieve the church records from the top of these shelves.

The chairs in the worship center were slapped around as by a giant hand and the walls were buckled. The destruction of the soundboard and the electronics of the sound system looks complete except for the hanging speakers.

The high water mark in the nursery completes the picture of the loss of this facility in the storm.

Pastor Larry McEwen

Associate Pastor Jay Victory

These two pastors are right there in the mix with their congregation. I kept thinking, "they are like player-coaches". They are in the game, working alongside their members."

Having deeply invested their lives with the people of NorthShore Church and having a ministry style that puts them among and alongside their members, both men and their families can now identify with their members in a fellowhip of suffering. Both men lost their houses to the storm surge, and they lost the church building in which they met with their congregation. A large fraction of their church membership lived in the southern part of Slidell, which was largely destroyed by the storm surge of hurricane Katrina. It may be that the majority of their church members also lost their houses.

Leaving the church location, we then drove over to Pastor Larry McEwen's house over a levee system just behind the church.

Already much saddened by what we had seen, we proceeded over the levee system close to the church into the Kings Point community and to Pastor Larry McEwen's house. It is the house on the right. A sizable portion of the roof was blown off and the garage door was crushed inward by the storm surge.

As we drove toward Larry's house we talked with a Sherrif's deputy and an armed marine who were part of the house-to-house search of the community. The two soldiers seen above had just checked the house next to Larry's. The orange-painted symbol means that the house was checked by team 12 and that they found zero bodies. We talked to them as the went to Larry's house and assured them that the residents of that house were ok.

The surge just punched in the garage door and filled the garage with debris. The water line almost to the top of the door can be seen.

The water line in the living room can be seen about a foot above the fireplace.

This is the view down the street from Larry's house and a fairly good picture of the whole community. Two of the military teams can be seen walking down the street, continuing their check of the houses. In this community of perhaps 200 houses, there were only a couple of families present - it was like a ghost town. The family with the camper were clearing out ruined furniture from the house. We stopped and gave them water and packaged meals that we were carrying. They seemed to be ok and probably had enough supplies, but they appreciated the gesture. Part of the time you were just numbed by the extent of the destruction, and at other times we were choking back tears.

This view of the roof damage over where NorthShore Church met is over the levee. This levee surrounded and was supposed to protect the community where Pastor Larry's house was located. He often walked to the church according to Jeff. In this instance the levee worked against the community because the huge storm surge rolled over it. The levee then trapped that water around the houses and impeded the recession of the waters.

As we were leaving the southern part of Slidell, we saw this Navy helicopter bringing in a patient to the hospital. A Marine helicopter was circling overhead, waiting. We saw a lot of military personnel helping in all kinds of settings and were quite proud of the help they were giving.

You couldn't help being touched and impressed by the resilience and helpfulness of all the people we encountered in Pearl River and Slidell.

Trip home on September 7

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