New Orlean's 'Hurricane Party Thumbed its Nose at God
Hurricanes cause some people to pray to God while others thumb their nose at Him. This has never been more apparent than with the approach of Hurricane Ivan. Just a few blocks from our Baton Rouge office there is a store selling “Hurricane Party” supplies.
Just a few blocks from our Baton Rouge office there is a store selling “Hurricane Party” supplies. They also have an ad on the Internet to facilitate the party crowd at www.mardiGrasOutlet.com. Their web ad reads: “Have fun! Pat O's Hurricane Mix, Hurricane Glasses. We ship quick.”
In New Orleans, a city in the sights of the hurricane, the popular drink is a powerful alcoholic beverage named “Hurricane” offered in five colors of “hurricane glasses.”
As the Gulf Coast air is moved by Ivan’s winds, it’s being rocked by the music of the singing group “Hurricane Party.” Songs from their album “Get This” which include “Killer” and “Last Survivor” provide entertainment for some as others die from the tempest.
This all stirs memories for those of us who witnessed Hurricane Camille. It did not produce much fear as it crossed Cuba and moved into the Gulf with winds that had not exceeded 115 miles-per-hour. Many paid little attention to the small, but rapidly maturing storm.
The National Weather Show radioed this report, “On August 17, 1969, the residents of the Richelieu Apartments in Pass Christian, Miss., decided to throw a ‘hurricane party.’ A practice that had become commonplace throughout hurricane-affected regions, hurricane parties were, for Gulf Coast residents, an opportunity both to celebrate Mother Nature's fury and to collectively thumb their noses at the storms.”
A sheriff went to the apartments and warned people to get out. One reveler said, “We are just having too much fun to leave.” They stayed.
Then Camille, an uninvited guest, crashed their party with 200-miles-per-hour winds and a 24 foot water surge.
Mary Ann Gerlach was the lone survivor of that party. She lived to tell about celebrating the hurricane, being washed out of her second floor apartment, grabbing hold of drifting debris, watching in horror as her husband disappeared under the wind-whipped white caps and seeing her entire Richelieu Apartment complex washed away. The next day Mary Ann was found clinging to a tree five miles from her apartment.
When the apostle Paul was in a similar situation with terrible winds tossing his ship about the troubled waters of the Mediterranean, he preferred praying to partying. The disciple humbled himself, prayed and did exactly what God told him to do.
He relayed this message to the terrified ship crew, “I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar (in Rome): and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. (Acts 27:22-25).