Art History



Degree Name

Master of Arts in Art History (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work

Qualifying paper


Victoria Young

Second Advisor

William L. Barnes

Third Advisor

Heather M. Shirey


As the new church building for the Baptist congregation of Iglesia Bautista Horeb in
Gretna, Louisiana began to take shape in early 2009, it was clear that it would not follow established traditions of Protestant church building. The finished complex would consist of three structures in the form of geodesic domes, not typically found on a church of this size or in the surrounding residential neighborhood. Gretna’s proximity to New Orleans, laying just across the Mississippi River, means that events in either city will have an impact on the other. For this reason, church leaders decided to focus on community and sustainability to establish a new model for Baptist church architecture in the area. This paper examines the significance of Iglesia Bautista Horeb in the context of both Baptist church and New Orleans architecture. A rapidly expanding congregation and damage to the original building caused by hurricanes prior to Katrina (August 2005) led Pastor David Rodriguez to start a new building project, but the humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, coupled with a desire to exercise good stewardship of the environment, is what led he and his team to choose the geodesic dome design and incorporate new sustainable technologies. In working with contractor and church member Bill Thomason, architect Katrina Johnson, and fabricator James Lynch of Good Karma Domes, a building was designed that would accommodate a larger congregation and protect them during the yearly hurricane season, as well as set an example of community outreach for future projects in the area.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.