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Seminary prepares to weather the storm

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–With Hurricane Isidore on possible route to the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is on hurricane watch. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible during the next 36 hours.

With landfall expected sometime Thursday morning, NOBTS President Kelley announced in chapel that all classes, including night classes, will meet as scheduled for Sept. 24 and all offices would remain open until 5 p.m. However, classes will not meet and offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 25-26.

It is expected that all classes will resume and offices will reopen on Friday morning, Sept. 27, at 8 a.m. The seminary will publish changes to this schedule on its website, www.nobts.edu.

According to New Orleans WWL-TV Channel 4, Orleans Parish public schools will be closed Wednesday and Thursday as well. Officials said if Isidore comes ashore as a fast-moving category one hurricane, there should be minimal problems from flooding. The city’s Sewerage and Water Board assured that its pumps are fully functioning.

Nonetheless, the seminary community wants to be prepared in case a larger storm hits the city.

Preparations began on Monday when the seminary community was advised to stock up on storm supplies, including paper goods, powdered non-dairy products, drinking water and canned goods.

Seminary residents also were instructed to prepare for evacuation, in case the city’s mayor deemed evacuation necessary. However, at this time, Mayor Ray Nagin advised New Orleanians to “think about hunkering down and riding this thing out” as Isidore approaches the Louisiana Coast, reports New Orleans’ Times Picayune.

Nonetheless, Mississippi churches and a camp in Mississippi are prepared to receive seminary families in the event of a mandatory evacuation.

“We take hurricanes notices very seriously,” said Chris Friedmann, NOBTS associate vice president of operations. “For everyone’s safety, we encourage everyone remaining on campus to stay indoors, stay away from trees and wait patiently for the storm to pass.

“It is critical that everyone exercises extreme caution during the cleanup after the storm,” he added.

This is the third hurricane-sized storm that DeDe Morrison has experienced since moving to New Orleans in 1987.

“I am not really afraid of the storm,” the raincoat-dressed NOBTS housekeeper said. “What I am really afraid of is the rising water. Hopefully, we won’t have to swim around the city.”

Reflecting on the “fish-bowl” locale of New Orleans, a city surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, Morrison added, “If you are not prepared, it can be very frightening.”

In his prayer concerning the weather threats, Kelley reminded the seminarians, “We are safe in the arms of a sovereign Lord who loves us. Look for opportunities to say a word about Jesus. May the Lord use your sense of soul security for those who may be apprehensive about the storm.”

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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