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Jim Spraker revisits sites of New Orleans recovery

Beginning early in 2006, the Pacific Northwest Conference sent work groups to help rehab houses in New Orleans.

house 1
house 1 after

One house in 2008 and today. Photos courtesy of Jim Spraker

“We provided 150 plus of the nearly 7,000 volunteers involved in the UCC Disaster Ministry,” reported Jim Spraker, who participated in several of the work camps.

Randy Crowe, retired managing director of N-Sid-Sen, led seven conference teams and Bobbi Virta led four from her church in Ferndale.

This fall, Jim took a week-long vacation in New Orleans. In addition to the French Quarter and other tourist sites, he worshiped at Little Farms UCC, the site of the PNC’s first project.

The work team replaced the siding on the church and the roof of the education wing.

“This small church lost 60 percent of its members as the result of Katrina,” Jim said. 

The Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC financially supported the church through its struggle to survive. 

“The current moderator is so grateful to us,” Jim said.

house 2 before
house 2 after

Second house in 2008 and today.

Little Farms UCC had a part-time pastor during the past eight years, and he has retired. Their interim pastor is helping them work toward a new future.

“I revisited some of the projects we worked on. The first house we cleaned out is now restored and looking beautiful,” Jim said.  “A house in the central area, which is a traditional shotgun style, was a total rebuild. It is now filled with a family.”

While New Orleans has recovered, he saw that there are still scars from Katrina.

“There are still abandoned houses in areas affected by flooding. In the 9th Ward, where 4,000 houses were destroyed, the Brad Pitt Foundation has built 90 houses with a goal of 150 houses,” Jim said.  “The houses are LEED, energy efficient and built six to eight feet above the ground.

“I was pleased to be a part of six of the Conference work groups and see that our efforts resulted restored housing for the people of New Orleans,” he said.

little farms ucc

Little Farms UCC expresses hope.

For information, call 206-935-3214 or email

Copyright © December 2013 - Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News


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