The Lakeshore Baptist Church building, constructed in 1952, sported a large wood-frame bell tower. Hurricane Camille stole the steeple in 1969. The congregation patched the roof, but the building lacked any adornment for about 30 years.
In 2001 the church decided to replace it with a fiberglass steeple. I remember traveling to Texas with Bro. Ed McClendon, to pick up the steeple and bring it back on a flat bed trailer. Several church members and locals assisted in the installation.
Little did we know that less than 5 years later another storm, of Biblical proportions, would hit us and totally demolish the entire building. Hurricane Katrina threw debris blocks away from the church property in every direction. Nothing but the concrete steps remained fixed. The fiberglass steeple apparently floated like a boat until it rested on the other side of the church property.
In the days following the storm, we drug the steeple out of the rubble and set it up on the side of the road. It became a landmark for our relief efforts. The rescued spire began to serve as a “Beacon of Hope” to our decimated community and a rallying symbol for thousands of volunteers that flooded in from across the country.
For eight years we worshiped in a “temporary” metal quanzet hut that bore no resemblance to recognizable church architecture.
When we began to design our new church building we wanted to celebrate and honor our heritage while looking forward to the future. We decided to incorporate the old steeple into the traditional church profile of the new facility. With the help of locals, and a big crane, the steeple now stands tall atop the new building, to the glory of God.