Christian Chronicle

Big mission in the Big Easy

Charles and Angela Marsalis survived Hurricane Katrina. God used the storm, they believe, to prepare them for what came next.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

NEW ORLEANS — “Girl, you better get out of town!”

Angela Marsalis’ mother made clear what she thought her daughter should do as Hurricane Katrina — a Category 5 storm packing 160-mph winds — threatened a direct hit on New Orleans.

In a perfect world, Angela — a substitute schoolteacher who also helped each day with an after-school program at church — would have done exactly as her mother urged. She, her husband, Charles, and their boys would have joined the clogged procession of vehicles fleeing the tempest predicted to make landfall that Monday morning.

But Charles — who worked 12-hour days on a tugboat yet still volunteered most mornings at a Christian outreach center — had just spent $2,000 to fix the family’s blue 2000 Dodge Caravan, wiping out their bank account.

Jittery over the calamity that could befall the bowl-shaped metropolitan area, Angela begged her husband: “Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!”

But her practical side knew they lacked the cash to keep their gas tank full. They simply could not afford to heed the mayor’s mandatory evacuation order.

Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region with a vengeance in 2005, killing more than 1,800 people and wreaking $125 billion in property damage.

For days, the “storm of the century” threatened the lives of Charles and Angela Marsalis. But ultimately, the Christian couple survived. And, as they see it, the experience prepared their family for what came next.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle. 

Condensed print version of story: Big milestone in the Big Easy (reporting from New Orleans)

Related: And now you know … the rest of the Hollygrove church story (Road Notes column)

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