Church forced to relocate after fire destroys Zydeco’s

New Life Family Worship Center church members gathered before Zydeco’s Restaurant and the adjoining Ellington Room as firefighters tried in vain to stop the raging inferno destroying the building.

There were memories. There was worry. And there were plenty of tears.

The church held their Tuesday night Bible study and Sunday mass at the Ellington Room each week until it burned on Memorial Day. It was the only home the New Life community had ever known in their seven-year history.

“We were heartbroken,” said New Life’s Carla Antoine, the church’s executive administrator. “Honestly, since the birth of our ministry, that was our home. That’s where we held all of our functions and worshipped together. It was our sanctuary.”

Antoine said that her heart, and those of others in her church, went out to Zydeco owners Dustin and Rose Gainey, who she said “are like family.”

At the same time, a new place of worship was needed.Thankfully, some prayers were answered a day after the fire for the New Life Family. The ministry has been in the midst of a longtime search for a building of their own, and after an unfortunate event, they at least received some fortunately timed news.

“Our agent e-mailed us the next day and asked, ‘will this work?’” Antoine said.

“This” refers to what will serve as the church’s new meeting place at 13113 Highway 90, just across the street from the Ellington Room.

“It still needs a lot of work, but we are so relieved,” Antoine said. “We’re not where we need to be (financially), but we’re not homeless.”

New Life is in need of congregation chairs, drums, flooring, light carpentry, paint, lighting, a sign, electrician and laborers.

“Our church could have split apart, but everyone came together (during the fire). We haven’t skipped a service, even if we don’t have a building. We held one online just after it happened.”

New Life has a history of stepping up to help others.

“Our mission is to cherish lives and strengthen families,” Antoine said. “I know I always want to be the giver and I’m not always as comfortable on the receiving end. But sometimes you don’t have a choice. Some people have been really willing to step forward for us.”

New Life has established a Gofundme web page in order to raise funds to renovate their new home. The page ( and titled “New Life FWC Fire Fund”) raised nearly $4,000 in its first 17 days online.

Antoine said she and her fellow New Life members will always remember their time at the Ellington Room. But she also says they won’t dwell and will look to the future.

“We do have an attachment to (the Ellington Room),” she said. “But we realize the building isn’t the church. We are.”


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