NEW ORLEANS, LA— Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement congratulating the Reverend Fred Luter, Jr., Pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, on his historic election as the first African American President of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“I am delighted to congratulate Pastor Luter on his election as the first African American President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor Luter is a man of strong conviction and beliefs, and this election is a true testament to his faith, work and leadership over many years.
“Pastor Luter will serve as an esteemed leader throughout the nation as he has served his congregation at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and the City of New Orleans for the past 26 years. He has helped build Franklin Avenue into the largest Southern Baptist Church in Louisiana. And after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the building and separated his congregation in 2005, he remained faithful, dutifully continued preaching and was able to reopen the church three years later. This shows he is a battle tested and proven leader.
“Pastor Luter’s commitment to the Lord is strong. He started preaching on street corners in the 9th Ward as a young man and hasn’t stopped since. The work of his congregation continues to touch the lives of so many.
“This is truly history in the making for the storied Southern Baptist Convention. Electing the first African American president is the ultimate symbol of progress for the City of New Orleans and the United States of America.”