Home Sweet Home…ish.

After five days of sitting in a 12-passenger van with 12 people + luggage, we reached our destination. Camp Hope is an old middle school building in St. Bernard where many volunteers stay to help with Katrina relief. It was actually flooded with four feet of water. I am staying on the second floor of the building in a room called “Mardi Gras” with my whole team. It has already been quite the experience.

It is still amazing to see all of the mess that has not been cleaned up yet. There are piles of trash outside of houses, temporary street signs, and FEMA trailer parks. It’s frustrating to see all of these disturbing views after two years. I haven’t been back to New Orleans since December of 2005, and I definitely have noticed improvement. Apartments and new houses have gone up. There is also so much spirit here. Football fans are crazy. And locals do seem so proud of their town.

I hope to do some construction work for my Individual Service Project hours, but I also want to work with the women’s shelter and animal shelter. Hopefully I’ll learn so much here from all of the people I meet and the experiences I have. Can’t wait to tell you about my first week of work!

p.s. I ran into a famous chef yesterday in the french quarter. He said he would love to come work with us so hopefully he’ll come by and teach us a few skills. :0)

Getting Things Done

I – L – B

Dun Dun Dun…

We were told what our first project is going to be the other day! I had to wait so long for that moment and to finally know what I was going to be doing for eight weeks. It was definitely something I was never expecting…
We are cooking for all the volunteers who are staying at Camp Hope in St. Bernards Parrish (New Orleans, basically). So that’s about 500 people max a day to cook for. P.S. I don’t cook. For those who have never heard of Camp Hope, it is a “camp” that has existed since right after Katrina hit. So volunteers from all over will be staying there, expecting us to cook them wonderful food.
I’ll be honest, when I first heard, I was shocked. I was expecting to be working on top of roofs and building a house. This was the last thing I would ever think of. I know that this is going to be a lot of hard work, not being able to cook will be the least of our problems. If you think about it, though, 500 people wouldn’t be able to go out and do the hard work, such as building houses, without us. Plus, food always makes people happy. :0)
I can’t wait to talk about our fun adventures, including the five day road trip down there.

Getting Things Done

ILB

Response

Matt asked a good question: what was my reaction to Bush’s interview?  To put it nicely, his reasons for not even mentioning Hurricane Katrina is bullshit. So he says there’s been money given to the area and its people. Well, great, he should have let the nation know that improvements have been made. The only thing is, he undoubtedly knows that not enough attention/aid has really been given and that’s probably why it wasn’t mentioned. He, along with others, does not like to remind people of his past mistakes.

People are still living in FEMA trailers and luckily there has been an extension for those residents.  They were going to have to be out of them by this month and then have no place to live. Now they have until August to find somewhere else other than this trailer that many people reside in for a week or so on vacation.

So Bush didn’t mention Katrina and I’m over it now. I give him some lee-way though, seeing that he has defend his belief in something that most of the country disagrees with. I’m just hoping that this doesn’t turn out to be another “mistake”.

Annnd I’m done ranting.

Union Address was missing something…

I apologize for missing the past couple of days, my bad.

This might be a little too late to ask, but did any of you notice that the State of the Union Address was missing something slightly, no majorly, important? Don’t worry, Bush said the words “Iraq” and “health care” plenty of times. I’ll give you a hint…it was one of the largest disasters to hit our country and has left many people without homes still to this day. I don’t get how our own citizens are being forgotten about. Sort it out, Mr. President.

When The Levees Broke

I am quite surprised to find that I have not yet talked about the issue I am about to talk about in this entry – Hurricane Katrina.  For the past two winter breaks, I have gone down south to help rebuild for hurricane victims, each one being a humbling experience.  In December of 2005, just months after the hurricane hit, I went with a group down to New Orleans to help clean up an area near Tulane University.  This past December, I went with a group down to Mobile, Alabama to help rebuild for victims living in Bayou la Batre. Even a year and a half later, many people are still living in the same homes they did before the hurricane. Let’s just say the living conditions aren’t the greatest. The group I was a part of worked on a house that had mold, and a lack of floors, really. I will never forget the first image that I captured in my head of the condition of that house. 

Spike Lee decided to make a documentary on the situation in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. When the Levees Broke is a series of interviews and pictures of people and the experiences they went through.  One man talks about how he had to watch his mother die, leave her on the street, and find her in the same place a couple days later. Make sure to watch all three/four hours of it, and also listen to the commentary from Spike Lee.  I’ll admit, even photos don’t do it justice.