Memorial Baptist Church was established on May 22, 1957, in Metairie, Louisiana. Their first pastor, Brother Marvin Sanders, taught the church in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Alverson. When the church grew too large to meet in a home it expanded and held its services at St. Martin Episcopal School, and later, in the cafeteria of East Jefferson High School. In July of that same year part of Memorial’s current property was purchased, and in October the church was welcomed into the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. In January of 1958, Dr. J.D. Grey was the guest speaker for Memorial Baptist’s ground breaking ceremony of the church’s first building, a new sanctuary.
In 1958, Brother George Feazell was called as pastor of Memorial where he served for twenty-six years. In 1963, the church acquired two used army barracks to include a weekday preschool and kindergarten. In 1965, a third building was constructed as part of the campus of Memorial Baptist. This two-story building contained the fellowship hall, kitchen, and additional education space.
The 1970’s were a time of tremendous growth for Memorial Baptist Church. Most of this growth came about as part of the church’s financial campaign called, “Together We Build”. During these years some of the highest numbers of salvations and baptisms took place in the history of the church. Also, several high school students committed their lives to full-time Christian ministry and are now serving in churches all over the United States. In addition to membership growth, in 1974 a group of members started the “Mother’s Day Out” program to fill a need for new mothers.
In 1981, Memorial partnered with a Chinese Baptist church to meet in the facilities and conduct weekly worship services. After fifteen years of church partnership the Chinese church was able to raise enough money for its own building. This church has continued to serve the Chinese community of Metairie to this day. Also, in 1981, the church dedicated the new Children’s Building. This building would serve as a home for Memorial’s Mother’s Day Out and Elementary School program. This allowed for the church to extend its weekday ministries through the sixth grade. In 1982, the church called Dr. Jerry Pember to be the Superintendent of the School. Within three years the school had grown to include an eighth grade.
Unfortunately, the 1980’s brought trials too. An economic upheaval within the oil industry caused many workers to lose their jobs or transfer elsewhere. During this time, the churches’ attendance began to dwindle. Many, who are still part of the church today, recall making the decision to press on in faith, believing that God was completely in control of the circumstances.
In 1985, Dr. Philip Pinckard became the pastor of Memorial Baptist. He remained pastor until his family was called as missionaries to serve in Macao, China in November of 1992. Almost a year later, Memorial Baptist called Brother Larry Langley in August of 1993.
In 2002, Memorial called Brother Paul Blange as pastor, and later, Jackie Gestes. Just prior to Brother Jackie’s tenure, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The congregation fled the city and when they returned they found the sanctuary roof had been torn off and all the building’s contents in ruin. The church went through two and half years of construction before moving back into the sanctuary. The celebration was short lived, after only seven weeks of conducting services in the newly renovated sanctuary, Hurricane Gustav came and took the roof off a second time. The church once again had to rebuild.In March of 2011, Memorial’s leadership called Dr. David Crosby of First Baptist New Orleans to assist with directing the church. First Baptist said that they would send Dan Pritchett, who was serving as a Sunday school teacher to fill the pulpit for six weeks. After the six weeks were completed, Pritchett stayed on during the next eight weeks to help the church stabilize by continuing staff meetings and leadership meetings. At the end of the summer of 2011, the church asked Pritchett if he would be their pastor. On August 7, 2011, Dan Pritchett was voted pastor of Memorial Baptist where he continues to serve to this day. Pastor Dan has a passion for preaching and desires for every person to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe through His son, Jesus Christ.