Almost three and a half years after Hurricane Katrina the damage is still tremendous. On our drive to the Lower Ninth Ward the devastation was very apparent; dilapidated houses, trash, and empty lots were everywhere. As we entered the Lower Ninth Ward, we became overwhelmed by feelings of sorrow and bewilderment as such damage was difficult to fathom. We started to clean, frame walls, and complete finish work and quickly realized we were not skilled in any areas. Though we had great inexperience our passion and willingness to learn was insurmountable. We pulled together and recognized that we are not only rebuilding homes, but also hope for those in New Orleans.
Michael James Scheitlin and Thomas Christopher Wade
Today, our first day of work in New Orleans, I began working on one of the many houses that need a lot of work before being ready for someone to live there. The house that I was working on is owned by a man named Willie, the son of a local pastor in the Lower 9th Ward. The inside of the house is completely empty; it doesn’t even have walls or a floor. The condition of this house reminded me of a house that I was working on last year during my spring break trip here.
The house that I first worked on last year was owned by a couple that had been displaced to Mississippi. I got to go back to their house today to see what it looked like a year later. I went to the house with Dr. Baer and talked with Ray and his wife for quite some time. Being able to witness the final product of something that I was a part of a year ago is something truly amazing. When I left that house last year I never would have imagined that the house could look the way it does now. To see them in their home and back to their lives was something truly inspiring and makes all the hard work that was put in on their house, and the others we worked on, more than worth the effort. The thanks and gratitude that they showed Dr. Baer and me touched me and inspired me to continue my efforts, not only here this week but also next year during spring break, and possibly in mission work later in my future, all in the glory of God.
Lambda Chi Alpha
After taking 2 hours to leave campus, I first started to feel that I got something wrong in my. Bearing with my back-pain, I saw that my van approached to New Orleans. Later, I noticed that my van crossed Mississippi River over a longest bridge I’ve ever seen in my life. Honestly, I was really impressed about this bridge. And our van approached New Orleans Business district. Unfortunately, the van went a wrong direction, taking a half-hour to wander around the New Orleans Business district. However, my fellow buddy, Seth, helped us arrive safely.
After having finished a breakfast at 6:30 AM, our group went to the working site, and later I was assigned to cleaning up a lot of messy things from this destroyed building. Having led by Professor Maharry and other five fellow buddies, we just started to move out a lot of debris from this old building, which was in water for almost two months after Katrina was hit at that time. When the time was reaching to the lunch time, then we moved out from this old building to the local church house to take our lunch. While we crossed two blocks to go to this church, we saw many destroyed buildings, which have been replaced by messy bushes instead. I don’t know exactly why many destroyed buildings are still standing lonely at there. At that time, I was noticed by Westside Mission Church’s pastor’s word: “An old woman was cheated by one company, which promised her to rebuild her house. And she paid $8500 for this construction. But nothing was done.” After that, we just floored the dusty stone and then threw away a lot of trash into a trash bin. Around 4:30 PM, we started to leave from this work-site, noticing that our group is the last group to leave.