All around "First Baptist Church" in Long Beach, there are scenes of destruction. Katrina decimated three buildings on the 95-year old property. And the sanctuary is just a shell. Yet, amazingly, the steeple survived.
"I do think it's a miracle", said Lillian Carte.
"It stayed. It says a lot about our congregation. That the cross of Jesus stayed there in our church", said Minister of Education Brenda Davis.
That's why the congregation is so determined to save the steeple and cross, before the sanctuary is torn down. Under the leadership of Pastor LaRue Stephens, volunteers tied straps around the legs and cut away the beams that have supported the wooden structure all these years.
For long-time church member Lillian Carte, it's a historical, yet, emotional moment.
"It's just a part of my life going by. I've worked here for 29 and 1/2 years, and had 3 children who grew up here, and were married here. The chain saw was just, I don't know, a little too much", said Carte.
Right now, the church is still trying to decide whether to rebuild on the current site or move somewhere else. One thing's for sure. Wherever the congregation goes, the steeple will go with it.
As the ropes hoisted the steeple high into the air, church members know that one day, it will stand tall and serve as a symbol of faith and survival for future generations.
"I hope we can survive all this and still continue our ministry to Long Beach and that the church will mean just as much to the young people as it has meant to my children", said Carte.
The steeple will be stored on the church property, until the congregation decides where to rebuild.