By Christie R. House
April 11, 2023 | ATLANTA
Hurricane Ida, the most damaging storm to make landfall in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, sent 150 mile an hour winds and a 14-foot storm surge over the southern coastal areas of the state on August 29, 2021. Terrebonne Parish in Lafayette District, home to the UMC Clanton Chapel, was one of the hardest hit areas. Then on September of 2021, Tropical Storm Nicholas flooded the entire area again before many had a chance to recover from Ida.
Clanton Chapel in Dulac suffered major damage, first from the hurricane and then from the soaking rains. Shingles were torn off the church’s roof and siding, the roof collapsed, and the steeple crashed down into the yard. This unique multicultural congregation, led by retired pastor, the Rev. C. Kirby Verret, includes members of the United Houma Nation along with Black, Hispanic and Vietnamese parishioners. Although they found alternate spaces to meet for worship, meetings and ministry after Hurricane Ida struck, they still aren’t back in the building.
But they have not faced these challenges alone.
After the hurricane, a unique coalition came together, which included the local Dulac community, the Louisiana Conference, the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference and the General Board of Global Ministries. Each contributed different resources and areas of expertise to aid in the recovery of this congregation and community.