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Sun Set on the Steeple

January 11, 2011
James Shaw Photography Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

The Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church before the fire. Props to James Shaw Photography for capturing her stature and beauty.

Every day while I sit in my perch in my office, I watch the sun set on the beautiful, oxidized, greenish blue steeple of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the corner of Prytania and Josephine in the Lower Garden District.

This past Friday night, the church and the adjoining house both burned beyond repair. The house was built in 1871, and the church in 1901. Both have been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. There is much speculation on the cause of the fire and comparisons to many fires started after Katrina to rid the city of blighted properties while law enforcement efforts were being concentrated in other areas; however, the piles of rubble indicate to me that there will be no investigation. From comments on the nola.com article, people are either glad that the blighted, abandoned buildings are gone, or sad that such a beautiful piece of history has perished. Last night and tonight I’ve glanced up to see the steeple against the pink, winter sky, it’s absence duly noted.

Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Fire

Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, the day after the fire. Since then, the stone walls have been pushed into the center of the pile.

I heard somewhere that 65,000 homes are abandoned in New Orleans. Now 2 less. And that was that. No more church, just a huge pile of bricks and stone and twisted metal and wood that probably sailed down the Mighty Mississippi hundreds of years ago. I think of the couples who were married here and the babies who were baptized, and since I’ve worked around the corner, the homeless who slept on the steps. In a few weeks, the rubble will probably be gone, a gap on the street, a toothless smile.

James Shaw Photography has a great collection of images from the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. brother permalink
    January 12, 2011 12:46 am

    this is my favorite post you’ve written.

  2. krobb permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:52 pm

    wow. i don’t even know what to say. the pictures are gorgeous and the emotions unimaginable. i think you must experience that a lot in your new city. just watching programs on tv stirs so much of the devastation and people are still living among the ruins. it’s strange that life goes on yet it’s not forgotten. i’m sorry your view had to change in such a drastic way.

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