A plain spoken man
Faithful to Christ
Willing to sacrifice
Serving the Lord

Gifted with strength
Wise in life
A generous heart
And forgiving hand

Success marks his walk
Failure unknown
Even the world
Can’t take what he owns

Three gifted children
A Christ like wife
Serving the Lord
Taking Billy’s advice

His journey is swift
He has done God’s work
Many souls
Rejoice at his worth

Billy is true
Always the same
Jesus on his lips
Christ knows Billy’s name

Clay Corvin 7/28/06


Just a guest
Filled with blues
Jesus came
I cannot lose

All the ways
I choose to live
Does not change
The strength of God’s grip

I’m HIS guest
My life HIS gift
With value and worth
I cannot miss

Inside I cry
For all I’ve lost
A foolish thought
For I’ve been bought

The price was high
The payment complete
Christ gave me life
He set me free

Born for love
Distracted quick
Too often scared
I forget HIS stick

His presence near
To heal my hurt
Building life
Removing the dirt

Swifter than a breath
Suffering He’ll remove
A relationship with Jesus
Will defeat this world’s blues

Clay Corvin 5/31/06


I drive the streets and see
Pain and poverty
People being hurt
The government doesn’t work

All the wealth we have
Who will plead their case?
People being hurt
The Ninth Ward doesn’t work

Gentilly is building back
So many cannot come
People being hurt
Houses dead from debris

Children waiting for school
Adults seeking control
People being hurt
Learning isn’t free

The church is here today
Giving stuff away
Helping those that hurt
So they can live and be

Today the church is at work
Now people have a friend
Jesus sent them here
To care for those who hurt

Clay Corvin

What Makes a Man Twelve Feet Tall?

What makes a man twelve feet tall?
Money or wealth or people he can call?
Or may it be the things he’s done
For family and friends and others

What makes a man twelve feet tall?
Looming over others that claim their all
Is it not the gently way he lives
Or is it the way he gives
Giving of self beyond request
Giving in life all his best
Giving his wife and children his life
Giving to Christ his focus and all
To be used up in every respect
To help each one find their place

What makes a man twelve feet tall?
We see so few it’s hard to know
But in my heart I feel the truth
A man this size is God’s blessing to you
One that walks his path with Christ
One that lives each day as his last

Charles Senior was just such a man
Each one that knows him felt his hand
A hand of strength
A heart of gold
A life of love andA legend that grows
For all his life he lived his best
Christ his life
A man twelve feet tall

Papa is the best-and now he is with his Master

Clay Corvin

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

Mike and Jeanne Melon- 5108 Feliciana Drive

DSC03467.JPGJeanne and Gregory left New Orleans mid-day on Saturday before Katrina hit.  Mike, a bi-vocational pastor, completed his work shift and got home just after Jeanne had left.  He had planned to leave immediately.  But, when he got home he discovered that two senior adults had no way out of the city and would not leave.  Mike purposed to ride out the storm and try to take care of them. 

Mike’s storm pictures are a bit daunting.  It evidences the magnitude of the wind damage and the amount of water that came into his neighborhood in Gentilly.  His house began taking water about 8:30am and he watched as the water came up the road.  He said it was almost surreal.  He and the dog relocated to the attic with some food and an axe in case he had to cut his way out.  About 1pm in the afternoon after writing his name and social security number on his body, Mike and his dog came out of the attic.  He waded in chest deep water to see how the two women had fared.  He went first to Ms. Shirley’s.  She had been standing on tiptoes for several hours unable to get out of the flood water.  He then went to Ms. Connie’s.  Carrying both women and his dog he swam to Mirabeau and Press Drive.  It was all he could do to keep their heads above water.  Exhausted, he saw a boat and was able to get all of them into the boat and to dry ground on Gentilly Blvd. 

Mike stayed through the week and did not leave until Friday.  He worked with Bethel Colony out of their building in Indian Village trying to get as many people to high ground as possible.   (photo gallery) 

Stayed in the neighborhood
Felt Katrina’s wrath
Saw the water coming
Got out of its path

Senior ladies stranded
Carefully rescued two
Carried them to safety
God sent a boat to use

No way to explain
Courage well displayed
Mike just knew he was needed
Jesus carried him through

Through hidden dangers
Through hours filled with pain
The work was hard and daunting
Mike did what he could do

This isn’t just a story
It’s a flesh and blood event
How Christ used his servant
Mike was heaven sent

Mike is not a quitter
Neither is his wife
A bi-vocational pastor
They worked hard to make their life

Today they still serve Jesus
Although in another locale
But when Katrina came calling
Mike was there to meet the demand

Many things together
Make a person what they are
Mike is a Christian hero
In Gentilly he made his stand

Clay Corvin 8/8/06


Michael Knight sharing from his front porchOn the morning of August 29, 2005 it looked like Hurricane Katrina had passed by the lower ninth ward.  It had not done a great deal of damage.  The lower ninth ward had survived.  Sometime after 8 a.m. Michael Knight had purposed to begin assessing his damage and see if there was anyone he could help.  The wind had slowed down and then with very little warning the water swept in.  In a matter of minutes the water was chest high and Michael was looking for his boat.  One of his boats was swooshed up into a tree.  He used one of his other boats that he subsequently renamed Katrina to begin his survey of the area.  All around him people were trapped.  Michael began a four day campaign to save people from drowning.  He pulled more than 100 people out of the murky waters now occupying the Lower Ninth Ward.    Initially Michael transported people to a nearby church building.  The water continued to rise.  The number of people Michael rescued from potential drowning quickly overwhelmed the space at the church.  Then Michael had to move all of them to the school just across the street.  For four days the numbers grew.  Michael said that the number of bodies floating in the water, people, and animals, created a smell that would overpower the senses.  It was a desperate situation.  They kept thinking surely someone would come.  Finally, Michael had to go and find the Coast Guard to get them to rescue the folks from the church.  Michael lived on the roof of his house for more than a week.  Each day he would make forays around the area searching for folks.  He had to get water and food.  He had to deal with the odors.  It was beyond difficult.  But, this was his house-his land and he would not be denied.  Michael persevered.  Freddie Hicks was with Michael during this whole mess.  He helped at every opportunity and was in every sense an able partner.  Freddie was willing to work.  He was willing to stay.  Freddie was an outstanding partner in helping Michael help others get out of the lower ninth ward.  Michael’s trade is junk.  He is the junkman.  He turns others castoffs into something useable and useful.  His home belongs to him.  He is deserving of admiration and thanks.  Both Michael and Freddie are courageous Americans.  For additional pictures of Michael, Freddie, the lower ninth ward and the devastation along the Industrial Canal  

Michael Knight

Courage and strength
Standing alone
Knowing Jesus cared
He would not fold

Seven days on a rooftop
More than a hundred souls
He found and freed
The water wouldn’t leave

Neither would Michael
He could not go
This was his home
He would not be overthrown

Standing alone
Three hundred days
Others returning
Their land he saved

Sometimes a man
Must draw a line
Here I stand
This life is mine
Courage and strength
Standing alone
Michael was God’s man
The lower ninth still his home

Clay Corvin 7/20/06  


Louis and Latasha Banks III, 5447 North Derbigny Street

aDSC03461.JPGLouis and Latasha Banks III had been married for nine days before Hurricane Katrina struck.  Their neat home at 5447 North Derbigny Street was comfortable and adequate for their new family including daughters Renisha and Mikala.  They lost all of their wedding gifts in the flood.  They left on Saturday driving to Mississippi out of the storm’s fury with only enough clothes to stay three or four days before coming back home. 

aDSC03336.JPGIt has been nearly eleven months now and their journey had carried them through MS, to North Alabama, back to Baton Rouge, to Dallas and then back to New Orleans after Christmas where they are now residing with Latasha’s mother in an apartment. 

Louis has worked many different jobs during this time including a period with Comman Ground and has volunteered to help many that are gutting out their homes in the old neighborhood.  Renisha said she wanted things back the way they were.  She misses her schools and friends.  Latasha says she has had a difficult time keeping everything moving forward.  The only way she can deal with the daily struggle is to turn it over to the Lord. 


Gentle people
Have a way
Of helping others
Encouraging their day

They walk and talk
As others do
But in a pinch
They always come through

They set aside
What might have been
Changing lives
Enabling others to mend

Reaching out
A helping hand
Working through
Returning again and again

You are just
That kind of soul
An inner glow
A Godly know

A friend to those
In need of help
A gentle person
Will be your friend
   Clay Corvin 7/19/06


Janet Benjamin, 5620 Tonti Street, N. O., LA

aDSC03320.JPGJanet Benjamin is a determined survivor of Hurricane Katrina.  Three generations of New Orleanians have lived in and owned this former residence in the heart of the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.  The beautiful home was already raised 4 feet off the ground and the flood waters from the break in the Intercoastal Canal reached up 6 more feet and swept her home off of its foundation.  Janet, her grandmother and many other family members had spent many hours on the front porch of their home, talking with neighbors and creating community.  Her neighborhood is now a beautiful memory that she hopes to recapture one day.  As we stood in front of her home, we were reminded once again of the destructiveness of nature.  Janet said this house had provided “a place she could always go” and now she is struggling through the devastation of loosing everything she owned.  Janet’s faith is strong and she states that “the Lord has seen her through.”  She believes that in time she will be able to rebuild and return to this place she loves in the lower 9th Ward.  Janet is a member of the Harvest Ripe Church, Gretna, LA pastured by the Reverend Jesse Pate, Sr.  Janet says that her church is an important part of her life and has been critical in her continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.  Janet’s first visit home was in late October 2005 and her house was still flooded.  At that moment she said that she was reminded that the Lord would take care of her and He is even to this day. 

For more pictures click here

Pastor Mel of Bethel Colony South

Pastor MelPastor Mel Jones is the leader of a drug rehabilitation program located on Old Gentilly Road near the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the Gentilly community of New Orleans.  Pastor Mel grew up in this neighborhood and has committed his life to giving back to the community.  He began the Bethel Colony Baptist Church which sponsors the Bethel Colony South drug and alcohol rehabilitation program more than two years ago.  Pastor Mel a recovering addict himself knows all the ins and outs of helping those caught up in addictions.  He has survived his own addictions and he says “by the power of Jesus will survive and thrive.” 

Bethel Colony South is a grassroots organization that has survived by the power of the Lord and through Jesus’ strength working through its leader Pastor Mel.  The stories of their survival through Hurricane Katrina and subsequent rebuilding are many.  It is a blessing to hear of the way the Lord is faithful to this struggling ministry in the heart of New Orleans.  Pastor Mel can be reached at 504-259-3453 or at [email protected].

For more pictures click here