Report from New Orleans, Louisiana
We Will Stand Tour

by John Thomas

Monday March 26, 2001

True Parents were clearly please right from the start of their arrival in New Orleans at the Million Air terminal of the Lakefront airport because of the motorcycle police escort to the Hotel Intercontinental. This police escort was a free service arranged by our co-host Louisiana State Representative Reverend Leonard Lucas, Jr. This was an unusual way for True Parents to be received on this tour. True Father was very happy about it.

Dr. Yang called the New Orleans event a total victory, number one in the nation in terms of the quality of participants at the banquet. More than half of the attendees were ministers. Their response was good and they stayed to the end.

Rev. Mike Jenkins estimated 800 in attendance, 95% being guests and 70% being ministers. Also, 8 hecklers came organized with leaflets to denounce our Father at about the same time that the press conference was to be held. The press conference never materialized, denying them the chance to get media exposure. They instead were escorted out by our brother Rev. Greg Carter with his arms stretched out wide as he repeatedly said 'God bless you' while they spewed their denunciations. They continued to leaflet outside until hotel security 'advised' them not to step on hotel property.

Press coverage then began at a much better time. The local newspaper The Times-Picayune sent a journalist and a cameraman. They reported very well. The next morning True Father's picture was in color, strong and bright on the front page of the second section. It showed Father's spirit. The accompanying article was very good, devoid of any of the usual slams or innuendoes.

Proclamations and greetings were presented from the New Orleans City Council, Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, Congressman Jefferson, State Rep. Leonard Lucas and State Senator Cleo Fields. Twenty-Eight members of the Legislative Black Caucus signed a resolution. Rep. Leonard Lucas submitted a congratulatory letter and a full sized Louisiana State flag from Governor Mike Foster.

Ministers were glowing with joy to be presented gold watches on the stage after the speech. One of them, Rev. Simmie L. Harvey wore the medallion that was presented to him in Korea 15 years ago and was as delighted as a 78 years old son could be that True Mother noticed it and picked it up to look at it.

All of this was a glorious climax to the long hours and extreme sacrifices offered by 30 Japanese missionary wives who visited churches, sang songs, and presented origami flowers they created when they needed to be sleeping.

They were heavenly singing ambassadors. They even received donations of $500 and $100 at a time. By the wonderful leadership of our Regional Director Rev. Jung, Asst. RD Rev. John Jackson, and Louisiana State Leader Rev. Jean Mark Nkuoe we were blessed with inspiration and guidance that focused us on the tasks at hand. Valuable work, assistance and sacrifice was provided by Rev. Mark Hernandez (ALC-Texas), Mrs. Hee Hun Standard (Dr. Yang's secretary), Clopha Deshotel (University of Bridgeport Distance Learning Department), Rev. Greg Carter and Ivan Bugriy (both from Washington, DC headquarters), Mark Snell, Earling Lea and Will Moore from Texas. The local blessed members dedicated hours driving Japanese sisters to churches and doing untold general affairs duties. Even one local minister went every day in the van with one of those teams of Japanese missionaries from early morning until late at night. She is Bishop Amy Green, a strong supporter of our movement since her ICC days.

Having said all this, it cannot be underestimated that the unity of brothers and sisters with each other, with our leaders, with the ministers, and with our True Parents was the key to our glorious success. The campaign was a difficult, but extremely joyful one as we overcame differences in personalities, opinions, conflicting directions and understandings and crisis situations day after day.

Glory be to God and our True Parents.