New Orleans Trip: Thursday

It was a rainy day here in New Orleans. We had rain storms off and on all day long, so jobs had to move in and out of doors when things got too heavy. We were also joined this morning by 20 or so young people on fall break from college in North Carolina (the two who joined our team were from Chapel Hill and were here for their fifth time).

I was back at Ms. Evelyn Green’s house today. Our day started with a good example of redevelopment recycling. Ms. Evelyn’s house has one corner that needs jacked up and a major beam replaced due to rot. Our team leader, Dallas, had found a 24 foot long 8″x8″ piece of timber on an empty lot and had contacted the owner to get permission to take it. He got permission so long as he took the other pieces (that were not quite as nice). So, we spent an hour or so sawing this huge timber into manageable pieces and getting them back to the house. We spent the rest of the day on a variety of tasks around the house.

Other teams today went to a local school and painted some classrooms; did grounds keeping along streets; laying tile as Ms. Severe’s house; and helped Ms. Jessie move into her home. Ms. Jessie’s is the first house that will have gone from start to finish with Hands On New Orleans. Dave Whaley in our group did an art project presentation with the AIDS patients in Project Lazarus. Another member of our group, Kathy Gorka, went to a school library in Central City whose students have had little exposure to books and libraries. Kathy worked with the youth at her church to created art supply boxes that arrived here the other day. She will go to the Lower Ninth Ward tomorrow to deliver them to the Martin Luther King Charter School.

Everywhere we go, people ask about us and thank us for taking the time away from our families to help out their city. I think that New Orleanians will one day excel in helping others in need, since they so well understand the value of the services given through the kindness of others. Interestingly, I heard the other day that the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans collected funds recently and sent them to our church in Findlay, Ohio, which suffered huge losses from a flood recently. So, maybe all of this giving and caring is not only contagious, but comes back when you least expect it.