Saturday, March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
Long bus ride begins.
Thought: How many of these people had to take time off of work to go on this trip? (We had around 40 people go.)
March 7, 2010
What will I see?
Will I be able to tell there even was a flood in 2005?
We drove down a long bridge across the Pontchartrain Lake. It felt like an eternity of nothing but water.
Church: They had blacks and whites attending the church. My church is almost all white. So, I like to see churches with diversity.
There was flowers and grass down there! I liked seeing green life unlike here in Wisconsin. We walked some around the garden district and drove around some areas. We looked at some houses that Brad Pitt is working on.
If this picture upload worked, this is a picture of one of the signs in front of the Brad Pitt homes. He had some finished and had others in different stages of construction. It sounds like he is actually involved in this work rather than just putting his name on it.
When I was at Camp Restore, I was shocked to see how many people have helped to rebuild in New Orleans. They had a map where they invited us to put a peg in the map for where we are from. Since some people in my team had came down every year for the past five years, we didn't need to add a peg for us.
On Monday morning, a large group of college students from Duke University arrived. They were taking a course on natural disasters and was spending their spring break at Camp Restore.
We were all thrilled to see all of the people together for one purpose to help others.
I saw newly rebuilt houses right next to crappy looking houses. Our team leader explained that when they searched the houses during the rescueing of people, they would mark the houses with an X.
My team worked around the church and a neighboring house. The homeowner was skilled in construction and helped some in the work. One group worked in a home where they were the first group of volunteers that he/she had. One lady told us that she had to split up her family when they all left New Orleans and this would be the first year of them being together in one place in five years! I had never thought about the fact that people were moved out with one way tickets. One of our home owners had no flood insurance and FEMA came out and elevated the house. But, they didn't do anything else. FEMA sounds like they are reviewing everyone's money request which is holding up the paying of construction companies and workers. Some people said that people weren't able to access their records to get an idea of the length of the hold up while the government was saying that they can. We saw schools that are still closed. The population in some areas is still a lot lower than before Katrina. This may be part of the issue with the schools. I found an article from a few years back about people who did day labor and didn't get paid for it. I saw people waiting around in the hopes of getting a day labor job. So I wonder if that still goes on.
The lady who told us about getting her family back together after five years also expressed concern about the levee in her back yard. She feels that it needs further repair work. She said that she could see that it was damaged by Katrina but the Army Corps of Engineers said that it was in acceptable shape. I didn't get to see it, though.
I also felt overwhelmed by all of the need. A community is a lot more than a collection of houses. Churches lost congregations. Many volunteer organizations lost their volunteer base. I can't imagine how much work is involved in rebuilding a community.
Websites that might be of interest to you.
I hope I got this right. I had some trouble figuring out my writing. I found it by googling Katrina Recovery.
They are fighting to get the government to improve the areas protections from hurricanes.
3. Camp Restore is RAI ministries but I don't remember the exact website. They allow non-Lutherans to come and hope if a group wants to come and help. Other denominations also have camps for people to stay at and volunteer with.