New Orleans 3 - The First Half of our Trip

From Columbia MO to NOLA we have made quite a journey; emotional, physically and mentally. Starting out we ran behind schedule, however the 12 of us employed the principle, BE GUMBY.  To be gumby, means to go with the flow and to take anything that happens and roll with it. On a trip where we are coordinating with multiple people it is a great skill to have in our toolbox. The twelve hour car ride down to New Orleans flew and we were settled in to the place we were staying before we knew it. The coordinator of United Saints showed us the ins and outs of where we were staying and a little about the neighborhood. Before tucking in for bed we had our very first nightly reflection, giving our "highs and lows" for the day and just taking a little time to reflect on the day. 


Our Second day on the trip and first morning in NOLA, we had a free day to have fun and explore the historical city. A few of us got up to make a trip to get breakfast from Wal-Mart for the group. We ran into a real inconvenience, a race on St. Charles St the main road we take to get from point a to point b. It turned a 10-minute drive into a 35-minute detour. After eventually making it back to our residence, after multiple U-turns we had breakfast as a group. Then hopped back into the cars to head to Jean Lafitte National Park. We did a walking tour of the swamps, we saw: 3 alligators, 1 bunny, 2 raccoons, 1 crane, and multiple caterpillars, lizards and snakes. After our excursion we were famished, so we headed to Mother's a highly recommended local restaurant that supposedly had the best ham. Speaking for everyone I can absolutely say that it was an amazing meal. From there we went walking on foot and explored the French Market. There was so much to do and see we all came home with little trinkets that peaked our fancy.  Into the afternoon we headed down to the 9th Ward. We drove through the sector of town that was hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina. It is hard to believe that over 10 years later there is still so much damage left by a horrid storm. We saw the levy that was broken and has since been repaired, empty lots that were once filled with life, love and homes, and the reminisce of peoples past lives. Driving through the 9th Ward we could see what was once a prominent place for living has turned into a daily reminder of the grief that had struck New Orleans. A few of us then went to grab our 12th member of the group who had to join the trip a little late because they were kicking some butt at an A Cappella competition. That night we ate at a Mexican Restaurant called Tacos and Beer, our food was fabulous and we had an amazing group dinner. For Reflection we recapped our amazing day of the city new to many of us and we talked about what we were most excited for going into our week of service the next day.


Rise and Shine early morning, our first day of service, I started in Baton Rouge our first day of service. We did the finishing touches on a house and were able to clear out and let the owner move back in. This was a very satisfying feeling, giving a person back their livelihood. Summer of 2016 there was tremendous flooding in the Baton Rouge area and this homeowner along with the whole area around it was under 3 feet of water.  As we drove by we could see houses/construction sites that used to be houses and trailers the people were temporally living in until their homes were finished. Also we saw pod, where people packed all their stuff from their houses into until renovations were finished. After finishing our project, we went down the street to see the house we would be working in the next day. To say it had some issues would be an under statement and you will later find out why… We drove back to New Orleans for dinner together at the Church, Red Beans and Rice, yumm. We had our nightly reflection discussing our first days on the volunteer site and then ended the night with bonding over card games.


Even earlier morning it felt like, or maybe we were a little tired from the day we had before. I went again to Baton Rouge to the new service site. As I was saying there were some major flaws that needed to be fixed before proceeding with the project. Some included errors that came from rushing through trying to get as much done as they could, or a lack of knowledge and patience to learn a new skill. 

No comments:

Post a Comment