BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - When the idea for a grand scale Gospel event in Bay St. Louis came about, the mission was always a clear one.
"Gospel Palooza. It's a fundraiser for PNEUMA winds of hope, an organization that came 10 days after Katrina and did disaster relief and recovery. We work with organizations like City Team and Outreach and Recovery. When they closed, I stayed," Organizer, Diana Fillhart said.
Those funds will help the group continue in its resiliency training, life coaching and various other services benefiting the entire community.
Starting with prayer, followed by the powerful sound of a ram's horn, the event began. Showcasing artists on two stages belting heartfelt praise and worship in an experience that organizers say is worth every penny.
"It's a $10 wrist band at the gate, and that covers all the events. So that we can continue to support the community. Community outreach is what brought me here and what keeps me here. Seeing lives change, young people that get hope and don't have to repeat offend. Those are passions for me," Fillhart said.
The theme of praise and maintaining Christian values was seamlessly weaved throughout the entire event. It's no coincidence that the event took place at the Train Depot.
"The Train Depot is a double blessing. The city offered it as a space we could use, but for me personally, in the days after Katrina, this was a place where a medical triage was. People would come here for help and for healing, and I think it just represents that," Fillhart said.
The hope was that now, seven years after that devastating storm changed so many lives, it can be a reminder to always give thanks and keep helping others.
Some of the artists who participated included The United Methodist Choir, The Saint Rose Men's Ensemble and New Orleans based Gospel Singer Tonya Boyd-Cannon.