NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The last time Matt Sloan saw Sylvia Blanchard's
house after he and Episcopal volunteer crews reclaimed it from Hurricane
Katrina, the Blanchards were back in and it was neat, clean and smelling
But it was raw, too, in the way of new construction: no greenery, no
shade trees, no landscaping to soften the hard angles of its little lot.
(RNS) Alix Jules is an atheist, but for years he felt uncomfortable at
gatherings of nonbelievers. The reason: he's black.
"I got really tired of going back and forth to free thought events
and being the only black person there," said Jules, 36, who lives in
Dallas. "It was not necessarily inviting. I just felt like an outcast
... No one was reaching out to me."