New Orleans Check-In

by lopc

Categories: Youth Ministry

We just finished our first working day in New Orleans! We are in 5 different groups, working on 5 different sites in northern New Orleans. After this first day of work it is pretty clear that we are all doing different tasks: hanging drywall, getting the new foundation of a house ready, scraping plaster and prepping to install flooring, finishing up small things on a house before it is certified as done, and cleaning out a garage so work on another house can begin. It has been a stark reminder that the city itself is in different stages six years after Katrina.

On Sunday we went to the French Quarter. I’m not saying that signs of Katrina aren’t present there, but to the casual person (ie, tourist) there are no obvious signs of lasting damage there, which I’m sure the tourism market here would be thrilled to hear. From what I know there wasn’t a whole lot of damage in the French Quarter in the first place, but it makes me realize why a lot of people visiting the city aren’t aware that New Orleans is still in the throes of recovery.

While on my worksite today we realized how much we would value a fan while hanging drywall in 100 degree weather inside a house with no perceptible air movement. Right after lunch we made a run to pick one up and I was struck by the sudden changes: one street with amazing houses and real estate followed by a street with (at best) 50% occupancy, houses in various (often terrible) states of repair, and where plant life is clearly winning the battle against man-made structures.

Yet, here we are at Walmart (which is doing just fine, by the way, judging by how busy it was and by the virtual traffic jam in the parking lot) to get a fan. I’m still trying to figure out if that Walmart existed before the flood, and if its presence is a good sign of recovery or an unfortunate one… There are probably a lot of those questions we will encounter this week.

In the meantime, we are a happy and healthy bunch, ready for day 2 of work!

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  • Thanks for the update Zach. Praying for all of you
    – Alex