What about the UUSC?

Q. What happened to the funds donated to UUA and UUSC toward rebuilding the Gulf Coast?
A. Of the approximately $3 Million dollars raised and donated, 2/3 went directly to community based partners and programs. 1/3 went to help the Gulf Coast UU congregations. More funds are needed to rebuild and revitalize the area churches.The UUSC has been a great partner in our efforts to rebuild our city, and established a volunteer center out of First UU Church in New Orleans.  In the spring of 2008, this volunteer center will be taken over by GNOUU and the Center for Ethical Living as the UUSC transitions towards other projects.


Why are three churches better than one?

Q. Would it be better for these three small churches to merge into one larger church?
A. Geography dictates that the North Shore UU Society remain independent. It is 35 miles from New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain. First UU Church and Community UU Church discussed merging before and after Katrina. It is still a consideration. However, the process of merging is complex and takes considerable time to accomplish.At this time, we feel that our three churches serve very different demographics and can better minister to the community and grow from continued shared programming, shared ministry, and relationship building among all three congregations. GNOUU has a Strategic Plan in place that strengthens our commitment to working together.
Read more…

Why Rebuild New Orleans?

Q. Why should New Orleans be rebuilt at all? Why should donors give to the recovery of the Greater New Orleans area?A. These are perhaps the most emotionally-laden questions the people of New Orleans have had to answer post-Katrina. Many people mistakenly believe New Orleans was devastated by a great storm that nothing could have stood against.  The truth is that Hurricane Katrina was not a mega-storm at the time of landfall; it would not have caused more than “usual” wind damage – IF the federal levee system had been properly constructed and appropriately maintained.  New Orleans was devastated by governmental mismanagement and neglect.

All Americans should care about what happened to New Orleans.  All Americans have a stake in how our government functions and how infrastructure is built and maintained.  Nearly every locality in America has some form of infrastructure paid for or partially paid for by federal funds. All Americans should want to hold the government accountable when citizens are put at risk when bridges, overpasses, expressways, pumping stations, dams, and levees are not built properly and are not maintained for safety.  New Orleans should be rebuilt because all Americans want and deserve their cities to be rebuilt after government-caused destruction.

The world needs New Orleans.  New Orleans is a major port and a center of international culture, known and recognized the world over.  People in remote villages smile and say, “Jazz” when a visitor announces his or her hometown is New Orleans.  New Orleans music, food, architecture and lifestyle are unique and wonderful in a world rapidly becoming homogenized and standardized.  Anyone who has ever listened to jazz music; who values Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest; who savors gumbo, jambalaya, or red beans and rice; who has ever relaxed in a hidden tropical courtyard in the French Quarter or danced down a street in a second-line, should be in favor of rebuilding the Crescent City.

How Safe will New Orleans Be?

Q. How safe will the Greater New Orleans region be from flooding and when?A. The flooding of the New Orleans area churches was the result of the storm surge rushing into the outfall canals and not the result of wind and rain. Steps have been taken to protect the city from future storm surges. The breaches have been repaired, and work has begun to raise and armor the levees along the canals. Temporary gates have been placed at the mouth of the outfall drainage canals. These floodgates can be closed in the event of an anticipated storm surge. The various levee boards responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the levees have been reorganized and restructured, and they now function responsibly and efficiently

Even after completion of the new flood gates and installation of the permanent pumps on the 17th St. Canal, expected to be complete in 2011, some of the lowest lying areas of Lakeview may still experience two to three feet of rainwater flooding. However, CCUU’s sanctuary is built on a raised lot which is four feet above the street elevation, and therefore, is not expected to sustain damage from rainwater flooding. In the First Church neighborhood, a massive drainage project completed before Katrina should make the area safer in the event of heavy rain. First Church is taking steps to flood-proof its building from regular rainstorms. North Shore UU was never at risk of flooding, nor did it sustain flood damage during Katrina.

Why GNOUU now?

In addition to the cooperation and work to plan and execute the capital campaign, GNOUU launched a website, co-sponsored a UU ministerial intern, and created the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal.  The Center is our 501(c)(3) non-profit arm for joint community outreach and social justice work and it took over the responsibility of running the Rebirth Volunteer Center from the UU Service Committee.  Additionally, CCUU and FUUNO share ministry with the North Shore and the three churches now celebrate four joint worship services together (i.e. Earth Day at Audubon Park, Poetry Service at CCUU, Hot Art in a Cool Space at North Shore, and end of the year Jazz Funeral at First Church).  Over the last 5 years, working together as GNOUUs has given us many opportunities to share ideas and resources, develop meaningful relationships, and build our faith.  GNOUU has even been referred to by our District and the UUA as a successful model for clusters of UU churches around the country.  And even though the campaign is formally over, the GNOUU churches will continue to worship and work together.  We just completed a workshop to develop our next 5-year plan.