A Brief History of Metairie and Kenner, Louisiana
New Orleans Metairie Spanish Church Organized
Near the end of 1979, Pastor Juan Chavez held evangelistic meetings in Kenner, Louisiana, baptizing a number of new members. The Spanish membership in New Orleans was growing rapidly and the members of the New Orleans Spanish church decided to start a new church. This was the beginning of a new group of Spanish believers in this part of the greater New Orleans area. More than eighty people attended their first Sabbath services (May, 1980). In 1980, Elder Chavez held evangelistic meetings again. These were held in the Travelodge Motel with thirty-five to forty attending each night (Record, 1981). Soon this group was organized as a company and then as a church. The new members were thankful to be able to rent a Lutheran church, but they wanted a church of their own. Under the leadership of the pastor’s wife, Magda Chavez, they raised $30,000 in three years to help make their dream come true (Chavez, 1985).
A New Church in 1985
The members purchased a lot at 601 Maryland Avenue in Metairie and had Ed DeMerritt, an architect from the New Orleans First church draw up the blueprints. Soon they were ready to build. Old and young alike came to help clean the lot, cut trees, and prepare for the actual building. Dr. Jack Lucas from Baton Rouge, with his willing crew of forty carpenters who called themselves agape workers, dedicated a long weekend of work with the result that the frame of the church went up quickly. Then Allen Broussard from the Gonzales church began the electrical work, traveling many miles and spending many hours to help. When his bill came, it was marked, “No charge.” Other volunteers from the Baton Rouge church helped as well and by 1985, the members were worshiping in the new church (Chavez, 1985).
Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane that made landfall in August 2005, hitting New Orleans and the surrounding areas particularly hard, causing catastrophic damage. The New Orleans First church sustained heavy water and wind damage during the hurricane. The New Orleans First, New Orleans Spanish, and Metairie Spanish churches all met together at the Metairie Spanish church until repairs could be completed on the two that were damaged as a result of the hurricane (Orian, 2005).
(1994, Jul. 1). Southwestern Union Record, p. 5.
Chavez, Juan. (1985, Jun. 20). Ibid., p. 16F.
May, Bill. (1980, Apr. 7). Ibid., p. 12C.
Orian, Stephen. (2005, Nov. 1). Ibid., p. 16.