Day three in New Orleans was pack full of service, learning and fun. We got up at 5:30 a.m. and were at our work site by 7:00 a.m. We were dry walling at Glenn’s home not too far from Duchesne House. We received a quick orientation and practice on drilling and then quickly got to work trying to finish installing dry wall on ceiling. It was tough work and there were many occasions for frustrations to flare but we all did a great job at working together and learning. When we return tomorrow, we hope to accomplish much more.
Dusty’s Reflection: On the first day of for the Saint Bernard project, we took a break from dry walling a house to talk to the house owner Glen. He told us about how his house was filled with 6 feet of water and everything was destroyed. He lived out of a trailer on his front lawn, while his two daughters lived with their mother and never really visited because they had no place to stay. This made me feel extremely sad that he couldn’t even be with his daughters after everything that had happened to him. However, when I found out that the room that I put up a ceiling and half the walls was one of the daughters rooms, I felt happy. I was making a place for his daughter to finally move back. I wasn’t only fixing a house, I was bringing a family together.
We returned to Duchesne House by 1:30 and got ready to go to the newly renovated light house on Lake Pontchartrain. JoAnn was nice enough to give us a tour of the museum before it opened to the public. She shared a wealth of information about the environment, Katrina, and New Orleans.
Afterwards we toured the Lower Ninth Ward and view the extent of the damage that Katrina left behind. It was an eye-opening tour.
Dinner was fried chicken from a local place and left overs. There was lots of food. We watched a video by Alexis, a graduate of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She put together a short film of her experience of Katrina and having to leave New Orleans and her school for months. We walked to David Montana’s home and got to meet a real Marti Gras Indian and view his hand-make costumes.
Caleb’s Reflection: On the fourth afternoon of our trip, we visited a newly rebuilt lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain. Although the lighthouse was in fact very beautiful, it was a personal anecdote made by our tour guide, JoAnn, that stuck with me for a few days now. While entering the museum portion of the lighthouse, JoAnn told us that she hoped we were enjoying our time in New Orleans but that she hopes we won’t judge her and her fellow New Orleanians. This astonished me, it was as if they had something to prove to their fellow Americans. It was as if she believed we came expecting everything to be pristine and dandy. Hearing this come from a native upset me because I felt guilty that I, as an American, didn’t make them feel loved and supported. New Orleans is a cultural and historical gem and we do love and support their struggling city even eight years after Katrina.