Mississippi Gulf Coast, Hard Hit by Katrina, a Place of Religious Diversity

September 3, 2005

Source: The Grand Forks Herald / The Sun Herald


On September 3, 2005 The Sun Herald reported, "Religion isn't just a seasonal practice here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It is well integrated into the lives of most of those who live here, with a majority attending at least Sunday services. Many also attend midweek prayer service or additional masses... Whereas upstate Mississippi tends to be Southern Baptist, or some other branch of the Baptist faith, there is a good deal more religious diversity on the Coast... Through the centuries people of faith have learned to co-exist here. There are a great many Baptists, a fair amount of Pentecostals and other evangelical Christians here, but also Muslims, Buddhists and others... In conversations with storm survivors, many of whom have lost everything, faith in God has become central to overcoming the heavy burden almost every person here carries following Katrina. They speak easily of how God helped carry them through their ordeal and they offer prayers for those they address, and often ask the other party to 'pray for us.' The faith community itself suffered greatly from the storm. Not only did countless numbers of churchgoers die in Katrina, but dozens of churches themselves were destroyed or damaged. But these losses have not deterred the people of faith: Rather there is a resolve to rebuild and to carry on the traditions which represent their core values."