News Articles

Katrina evacuees return the favor to camp battered by Laura

More than 30 members of Horeb Baptist Church in Gretna cut up trees and removed debris at Dry Creek Baptist Camp in Gretna, La., Labor Day weekend.

DRY CREEK, La. (BP) – The winds were still howling as Hurricane Laura blew through Dry Creek Baptist Camp Thursday morning Aug. 27, when camp director Todd Burnaman fielded a welcomed phone call from the pastor of Horeb Baptist Church in Gretna, La., asking how he and his people could lend assistance.

The members of Horeb Baptist, a Hispanic congregation that stayed at the camp for 33 days when they evacuated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, were excited about the chance to repay the camp’s leaders for their kindness. The group of more than 30, along with staff from a camp operated by Florida College in Tampa, Fla., helped clear trees and other debris on the property during Labor Day weekend.

“We’ve remained good friends with Horeb Baptist 15 years later, and they have been a part of the Dry Creek family since,” Burnaman told the Baptist Message. “When Pastor David Rodriguez was on the line the Thursday of the storm asking if they could come, I didn’t hesitate to tell him to come on.”

Emilio Lora, pastor of Horeb’s Chalmette campus, said the members were honored to return.

“It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to serve the Lord and the Dry Creek people,” he said. “What a great time we had being with them again.”

More than 80 volunteers have helped Dry Creek Baptist Camp begin the recovery process. Burnaman estimates 20 of the camp’s 28 buildings sustained damage, and more than 500 trees were downed by Laura’s high winds.

Four camps have offered their staffs to assist Dry Creek in recovering: Acadian Baptist Center in Eunice, Redeemed Ranch in Heflin, Pineywoods Camp in Woodlake, Texas, and Whispering Pines Baptist Camp in Centronelle, Ala.

“All these camps are good friends with each other,” Burnaman said. “We are not competitive, but brothers and sisters in Christ. This week has been a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together.”

In the midst of the cleanup, Dry Creek Baptist Camp has continued ministry. The camp, located about 45 miles north of hard-hit Lake Charles, La., in a rural area of Beauregard Parish, is a donation center for individuals in need and has established a laundry trailer that can accommodate up to 30 loads of laundry a day.

Burnaman said the most pressing needs are adult diapers, denture glue, denture cleaners and diabetic friendly drinks and food to distribute at the camp, and, financial donations.

“We have gone through savings since COVID hit,” he said. “Financial donations would help us as we try to host relief groups the next few months and by the end of the year welcome our first camps back.

“We need prayers for safety and grace as we pass out love and be a light to our community. It’ll be a long marathon.”

To donate to Dry Creek Baptist Camp visit paypal.me/dcbcamp.

    About the Author

  • Brian Blackwell/Baptist Message