Interfaith Celebration Raises Spirits in the Shadow of the Louisiana Superdome -- 01/01/2006
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 1, 2006
Interfaith Celebration Raises Spirits in the Shadow of the Louisiana Superdome
Religious Leaders, First Responders, Local Artists and Children Signal Hope for a New New Orleans and Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS, LA - At a symbolic site where thousands road out Hurricane Katrina's wrath, religious leaders welcomed 2006 on New Year's morning with Louisiana Rebirth: An Interfaith Celebration to proclaim the rebirth of New Orleans and Louisiana.
"January 1st, 2006 marks a new beginning, a rebirth for our State and this great city of New Orleans," said Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "This is a celebration like no other in history, as it follows four months after being struck by the worst natural disaster in our nation's history. In this truly symbolic gesture of faith and hope we want to recognize this American Tragedy, with a truly American response and thank those whose compassion, support and spirits have lifted our hearts during this tough time," continued Landrieu.
The four months preceding New Year's Day 2006 have defied human dignity, the spirit of a community and the will of a nation. The special service, inspired by faith, celebrated the enduring strength of those dedicated to the rebirth of Louisiana.
"As we enter this New Year we come together, with God as we rebuild the city of New Orleans. This city is known for its diversity and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate our rebirth than a gathering of diverse individuals with the mutual hope that our state will be rebuilt," said Reverend Lois J. Dejean, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.
One of the first musical tributes as residents returned to the storm damaged city was performed at New Orleans' Christ Church Cathedral by noted Jazz musician and Louisiana Cultural Ambassador, Irvin Mayfield, who repeated a soulful rendition of Just a Closer Walk with Thee, a tribute to Mayfield's father, one of over 1,000 New Orleanians who lost their lives in the tragedy. "This is both a solemn and joyful unification of spirit that calls out to a nation to help us turn our hopes into a new reality," said Dean David duPlantier of Christ Church.
The hour-long commemoration was highlighted by well known gospel and spiritual hymns, and the presence of well known local faith leaders including, Pastor Charles Southall (First Emmanuel Baptist Church), Bishop Paul Morton (Paul S. Morton Ministries), Bishop Roger Morin (Archdiocese of New Orleans), Dr. Gregg Thomas (Christian Faith Temple), Dean David duPlantier (Christ Church Cathedral) and Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn (Temple Sinai), who officiated the celebration. The service also featured the voices of first responders, evacuees, musicians, artists and children whose lives were interrupted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita including musical performances by Irvin Mayfield and Ronald Markham as well as the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church Choir. The celebration will be held in the shadow of the Superdome outside of Gate C connecting the New Orleans Centre and the Superdome.
"We are proud to host this celebration at the Louisiana Superdome," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "The Superdome is emblematic of our state's spirit of hospitality and has hosted some of America's most memorable sports, entertainment, cultural and special events. As we gather to pause and reflect on the damage to our state, we also look forward to again, greeting visitors from all over the world to this most unique destination."
The Louisiana Rebirth Plan was launched by Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu and Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Secretary Angèle Davis, outlines the process to rebuild Louisiana to worldwide preeminence as a top tourist destination, make Louisiana's Cultural Economy the engine of economic and social rebirth, build better lives and livelihoods than before for all Louisiana's people, and make Louisiana's recovery the standard for high performance, accountability, and ethical behavior.
To learn more about the Louisiana Rebirth Plan or to download a copy, please visit www.crt.state.la.us.