Sandra Johnson Gordon Cause Of Death, Obituary Not Yet Available – Sandra Johnson Gordon, the head of the pastoral council who urged the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans to reopen historic St. Augustine Church in Treme following Hurricane Katrina, died April 24 at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta from injuries incurred in an automobile accident. She was 68.
According to nola.com, “Sandra saved St. Augustine,” said Jacques Morial, a parishioner, recalling how Gordon rallied a broad coalition in late 2005, when the archbishop was deciding which churches to close in the devastated and depopulated New Orleans area. Gordon fought the archdiocese’s planned closure with the help of unlikely allies like members of the Nation of Islam, young out-of-towners from the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund, local and national civil rights fighters like Malcolm Suber, Malik Rahim, Curt Muhammad, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, and her daughter, Tyra Richardson.
Sandra Gordon grew up in the 7th Ward as Sandra Johnson, where she lived within a few blocks of several cousins and walked to McDonogh 35, then on Kerlerec Street. St. Augustine, which was founded in 1841 and is claimed to be the first Catholic church in the United States to have an integrated congregation made up of White parishioners, free persons of color, and enslaved people, was where she was confirmed and married.
Gordon’s ties to the church go back to his enslaved great-grandmother, Mary Belle Weadd, who was baptized at St. Augustine in 1865. Her dedication to it, though, was deeply personal. In 2016, she noted, “Our community is a loving kind.” “Every Sunday, we’re absolutely overjoyed to see each other.”
Gordon displayed “divine bravery,” according to Ansel Augustine, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Black Catholics. He claimed she would speak up at meetings or conferences to encourage others to do the right thing.
“‘If you’re going to worry about it, don’t pray about it,’ she advised. You don’t have to worry about anything if you’re going to pray about it.'”
Gordon’s faith was evident in his compassion and kindness, according to longtime friend Troi Yancy. “Sandra flung open her front door, refrigerator, wallet, and pocketbook. You could have it if she had it and you needed it.”