NEW ORLEANS – For 10 years, David Crosby tried to get the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to consider the Crescent City.
By Karen L. Willoughby
NEW ORLEANS – For 10 years, David Crosby tried to
get the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to consider the Crescent
The pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans
was chairman of an interfaith effort to make that happen, but
somehow, it never did.
“I think the Graham name is the name that is most
able to unite the largest number of people in the New Orleans area for
a spiritual event,” Crosby said.
But because not enough of a cross-section of the
Christian community would commit to being involved, the Graham
organization said the time wasn’t right.
Then Katrina hit, and within days Franklin Graham’s
Samaritan’s Purse organization was on the ground, with chaplains, food
“They have made a long-term commitment to the Gulf
Coast,” Crosby said. Some of the pastors spoke to Franklin Graham about
the 10-year effort, and by November, the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association agreed to fully underwrite a festival now set for March
11-12 in the New Orleans Arena, which seats 18,500. In late January,
Crosby said, Billy Graham went to his son’s office and said, “New
Orleans has been on my heart. I’ve been praying for the city and I
believe God wants me to go.”
George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows also are expected to participate.
“I feel that Billy Graham and his team returning to
our city is just the favor of God in the wake of the storm,” Crosby
said. “He is sending His choice servants to proclaim the good news and
a message of hope in this storm-ravaged city.”
At least 215 churches have participated in preparation for the Graham Festival, Crosby said.
On Thursday, March 9, “We’re going to have an hour
of prayer for pastors and spouses in the area, by invitation only, at
our church,” the pastor said. “We can only seat 1,500.”
The festival itself is set for 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, with doors open 90 minutes beforehand.
“People had better get there early,” Crosby said. “It’s going to be tight.”