Sunday, January 10, 2010
New Orleans Blues
I know, its been a long time since I posted. Sorry, I'm bad. I am trying to rectify this after coming back from my New Orleans Mission trip with the Lake Edge UCC Church in Madison and feeling somewhat Dazed and Confused. Maybe that was just due to the hurricanes (the drinks rather than the storms). Although we didn't try every place in the French Quarter due to time limitations, the place we found that made the absolute best hurricane in our humble opinion (and gave us the recipe...from scratch which of course we forgot due to the hurricane...go figure) was right across the street from the fabulous condo Christines friend let us stay in in the warehouse district...the Sun Ray Grill at 1051 Annunciation.
The work we did was hard and tiring...and roofing in the 35 plus or minus temps was a bit rough, but gave us a feeling of accomplishing something good for a family in the Westbank area. We hear alot about the lower and upper 9th ward and the northern section of the city where the levy broke, but there is so much more to the story that we haven't even heard yet. Scam construction companys have swooped thru the area and done such shoddy work that roofs they did are needing to be replaced and insurance companys are refusing to pay for them. One elderly woman 4 homes down from where we were working still has a blue tarp on her roof, no money, has 1 chair in her living room to sit on and the parish is fining her daily for still having the blue tarp and not getting the roof repaired. She is next in line for the UCC project, but I'm sure it has to be depressing still waiting 4 years plus after the storm just to have your roof repaired. At our orientation meeting on Monday before we started work, Allen, the person in charge of the SCC Disaster response Ministry told us he saw an article in the paper that there are still an estimated 50,000 homes yet to be repaired. In the four years since Katrina they have helped to competely finish 40. Of course there are other faith-based groups , habitat for humanity, Brad Pitts Make it right project and Harry Connicks work with the Musicians VIllage, but there is such a long way to go yet...a conservative estimate is 10 years.
On our tour of the disaster areas, we also made a stop at the Community Center of St Bernard in the lower 9th ward and they are doing amazing work...and could use donations if you feel the urge to help out. The director showed us a 12 minute video they should have up on their website in about a week that is well worth the time to view.
On Sunday, our second day there, before starting work, we went to the IMax theatre and saw the 45 min film "Hurricane on the Bayou". I highly recommend it and also bought a copy if you are close by and want to see it(it can also be purchased on Amazon.com for less than I paid in the gift shop). It's focus is on the disappearing wetlands south of New Orleans and this is where this story should actually have started, because unless the wetlands are saved, all the work we are doing now may all be moot anyways. Please, PLEASE take the time to watch this short u-tube video and the write, call or shout at your congressmen and tell them something MUST be done NOW, before we loose a national treasure...the City of New Orleans.
One more thing...if you have never done a mission trip, take the time out to do it...you will be amazed how good it will make you feel afterwards. I'm going back!!!