David and Opal O’Neal—4803 Ray Avenue (Gentilly)

David and Opal left their home in the Gentilly area on Sunday before Hurricane Katrina hit.  David a Psych Tech was to report for work at Kenner Regional Medical Center on Sunday afternoon.  Opal, a long time employee of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary checked in along with David’s mother at the family members’ area at the hospital.  David worked around the clock until Thursday morning.  Opal was with the other family members and they all experienced the onslaught of the storm.  They had no electricity and by Wednesday the food had run out.  Opal said it was a horrific experience. 

On Wednesday the hospital began to move the patients out.  They had determined they would have to evacuate.   Almost everyone left on Wednesday except Opal and her mother in law.  David was busy moving patients to the airport.  One patient was too critical to leave at the airport and David had to carry the patient to Gonzales.  He speaks of the extreme darkness on the trip.  Once at Gonzales he could not return to Kenner until early Thursday morning.  When David got to the hospital Opal and his mother were waiting on the sidewalk.   David and Opal both exhibited courage and tenacity as they lived this week. 

They evacuated to New Iberia for two weeks then moved to Opelousas until December.  Opal said that the people in Opelousas were wonderful.  They treated them like family.  Opal and David returned to New Orleans on December 8 where they stayed with her daughter in Harvey. 

They got eleven feet of water in their home.  It was totally destroyed.  Opal says they are going to rebuild a home in another location in the New Orleans area.  She is a joyous person who is able to move forward in spite of monumental difficulty.  David and Opal are busy getting their life back to normal in New Orleans.  Opal is a joy to be around and is an encourager of everyone she meets.   

Two together
Bound in Christ
Willing to serve and sacrifice
Without it getting them down

Overwhelmed by Katrina
Unbowed and strong
Time was all they needed
To get back their gentle song

Walking as gracious workers
Able to do as required
Encouraging those around them
Many have benefited from their smile
Faithful to each other
They’ve joined to rebuild
This thing will not defeat
Courage speaks through them

Memories of Jesus blessing
He guided them through the mess
Taking them to people
Who blessed and blessed and blessed

Now they stand as examples
How powerful Jesus is
Strength and joy within
They live as other’s friend

Clay Corvin

About author View all posts

Clay Corvin

Clay Corvin is Co-Pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church. He is the retired VP Business and Professor of Admin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and was employed by NOBTS for 38 years. He was the pastor at the Brantley Baptist Center for twenty-five years. He is married to Carol Corvin and the father of three children and has three grandchildren. His ministry is to the homeless and helpless seeking to promote the cause of Christ everyplace he travels.