by Jason Storms
I am writing the following as one who has lived for several years in New Orleans, ministering on the streets and in the community, and as one who has family and friends in the city who have lost much.
In recent years there has been a deliberate attempt by many Christian leaders to improve the public image of Christianity. While this is not entirely a bad thing, at times it can go too far. An example of this is the way that natural disasters and similar tragedies are immediately declared to be innocent of God’s handiwork by so many spokesmen for the Christian community. In some cases I am sure that this is so; accidents happen; God often times simply allows laws of cause and effect to take their course. But, to say such disaster is “out of character for God” is not only inaccurate but is not doing Christianity nor its Author any favors. Noah experienced a move of God in his day when the Lord wiped out the entire population of the earth in the flood. Sodom and Gomorrah were annihilated by fire and brimstone rained down from above. Those who would claim that God wouldn’t cause such a thing as Hurricane Katrina, needn’t dig too deep to find contradiction in their worldview. If you do not believe the Bible, so be it, then let this be the point of our contention, but to say that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, is not capable within the bounds of His character to do such a thing is the height of absurdity. “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
It is clear to me as I have traveled extensively all over this nation doing ministry on the streets, that the city of New Orleans is the most depraved in all our society. The city epitomizes the pomp, pride, and hedonistic godlessness that is becoming the character of our nation. Biloxi and Gulfport, on the Mississippi coast, are modeling their cities after much of New Orleans. Their gambling casinos, associated with organized crime, prostitution and exploitation bring an estimated $500,000 in taxes each day for the state! Those casinos do not exist today.
Bourbon Street , the most famous street in New Orleans , full of bars and strip clubs, is a dirty and disgusting cesspool which engulfs its inhabitants in the foulest odors of stale beer and urine. It attracts people from all over the world, culminating in the Mardi Gras celebration, a week of drunkenness and revelry. One of the highlights of Mardi Gras is the exchanging of plastic beads for girls to expose their breasts. A very common scene on Bourbon Street, not just during Mardi Gras, but any night of the week, is a crowd of drunk men surrounding a woman chanting “show your tits” until the girl exposes her breasts to the crowd. Over a million people come into New Orleans for Mardi Gras every year, many of whom are college students who take these obscene practices back to their own cities and towns. Like a cancer New Orleans has spread her disease to much of our nation .
“Girls Gone Wild”, as well as a host of similar offshoots, has its origins in New Orleans .
Southern Decadence, one of the largest and most vulgar “gay” celebrations in the world, finds its home in New Orleans every Labor Day weekend (interestingly enough, Katrina made landfall just 2 days before Decadence was scheduled to begin) , as the city rolls out the red carpet to prostitute itself for the revenue generated by such depravity. In fact, a huge percentage of the city’s income stems from its “parties” in the French Quarter every week.
The city’s political system has been well known to be one of the most corrupt in the nation for years; this has been well documented with numerous city and state officials currently behind bars.
New Orleans has been the nation’s murder capital multiple times. Thus far this year, they were again the nation’s leader in murders. Along with this are epidemic problems with drug addiction, crime and poverty.
Voodoo, witchcraft, and the occult are popular attractions in the city. A major annual music concert titles itself the “Voodoo Festival”.
New Orleans is a city full of crime, violence, corruption and perversion that influences the world with its seductive allurements. It is a city where the awful fruit of sin is keenly evident with the crime, poverty and brokenness. Yet, they continue to suppress the truth in their unrighteousness; unwilling to repent, unwilling to humble themselves and turn away from these destructive things.
The damage that was created by Katrina is nothing compared to the damage that sin in all its fullness has been creating in New Orleans and through its influence every day, year after year. When we see a young couple gruesomely killed by a drunk driver who thought it was OK to “get wasted” and drive home, I see Bourbon Street and the flood waters. When I hear of a family being ripped apart because of the sexual addiction of an unfaithful husband who thought “a little fun” was OK, I think of the French Quarter and the flood waters. When I see a young kid get shot to death while “slangin” crack on his corner because poverty and crime are all he has known, I think of New Orleans and I think of the flood waters. When I see a teenage girl going into a clinic where a doctor is ripping out of her womb, piece by piece a little human being created in God’s image, thinking it is her “choice”, I think of New Orleans and I think of the flood waters. When will our nation awake? When will we hear the cry of our Lord to “Love God with all our hearts, and to Love our neighbor as ourselves”?
Sin has consequences. This was true yesterday, it is true today and it will be true tomorrow. God has shown His mighty hand and His displeasure, not just to New Orleans but to our entire nation. Will we hear, is the great question of this hour.