FC: Louisiana 2008
1: Louisiana Trip 2008
2: Louisiana 2008 Group Photo! | Waddingtons, Berryhills, Nelsons, Dave, Mary, Luke, Allison, Erin, Andrew, and Earl
4: Flat Tire!
6: The house that we scraped, sanded, caulked sanitized, and painted!
7: We took off the back porch...... | ...but it didn't go quietly, or easily!
8: The never ending scraping, caulking, and painting job. | Look at mom scrapin' away!
9: Lori showing her and her husband's renovations on the inside!
10: Ms. Brenda's new house! | ...Well the start of it anyway!
11: Look at the cute kitty! | Above: Mr.Waddington Below: Mr. Dave
12: New Orleans Devastation
13: Houses to be demolished
14: Boats on top of houses and stilts where houses used to be | Boat on top of dock | Stilts where houses used to be
15: Ghost neighborhoods
16: Levy that broke
17: Down Town New Orleans
18: Saturday: Today I got up really early, finished packing and pushed my Brother and Andrew out the door so that we could be on time to meet the others at the church. Once at the church we unpacked our car and re-packed our new homes for the next two days. Little did I know the adventures that would await us even before we arrived to do the work we had set out to do. As we set out on our journey in our two vehicles holding our 12 passengers our adventure began. For the most part eating, sleeping, and reading were most of the highlights. Stephen and Andrew were sitting behind me and for the most part I tried to ignore them but many times they were very annoying. After hours of being annoyed and distracted while trying to read as well as attempting to do other important work we finally arrived at our hotel to spend the night. Mamma Waddington and Mrs. Berryhill shared a room with me, which was very nice. They went for a walk and I got to take a bath…so nice! After I finished they got back and we chatted for a while then we all drifted off to sleep. Sunday: Today we got up early, ate breakfast at the hotel, repacked the vehicles once again and started on our way. The day went much like yesterday sleeping, eating, reading and being annoyed. However, there was one slight difference. Today our tire exploded about 15 minutes away from the church we would be staying at for the rest of the week. To give you an idea of what it sounded like, imagine a helicopter hovering right above your head. Next thing we knew we were on the side of a major four lane highway about four yards ahead of what was left of our tire. When we got out to investigate, we found that the tire, in fact, had split directly down the center. For the next two hours we were awaiting a tow truck to come and get the spare down from underneath our truck and help us put it on. Two hours and fifteen minutes alter we arrived at our destination, unpacked and set up our rooms. Later some went walking, some started playing games and I took a much desired shower…which was an adventure in itself because it was outside! Later I did some prep. Work for Bridge of Life and then was out in charge of ordering pizza. An hour later we had pizza and then it was time for bed…at least for me! Monday: Today was our first day of work and boy oh boy was it HOT! Our group of 12 was split in between our two work sites. The group that I was in was sent to build a wheel chair ramp, but when we got there it had already been built.
19: After turning around and heading back to get different tools and equipment we headed off to our new work site. I knew that this week wasn’t going to be easy when I signed up to come but what we had to do was something I hadn’t really prepared for. With the sun at full blast we were set to work scraping, sanding, and peeling paint of the entire exterior of this house. During most of the week this is what we would be doing. Only when we were finished with that would we be able to wash it with the anti-mold/mold remover on the outside. Once we finished with that and let it dry we will begin to paint. Today we only got two sides of the house scraped. Luckily three of us, Luke, Erin and I, were given the fun task of tearing apart the back porch which was quite a lot of fun! We kicked loosened boards out, pried beams off, rolled the steps over, and tore it apart. Around lunch time my group went to meet the second group for lunch and we got to see what they were doing. They were framing a house for Ms. Brenda whose house was destroyed by trees caused, of course, by the hurricane winds. We learned later that a few months before Katrina her son had died. Due to Katrina she also lost three dogs and her mother. Talk about having it rough! For the last three years she has been living in a Fema trailer, however recently the mayor of her parish (county) has recalled all of the Fema trailers effective on July 1st. So tomorrow her x-husband and his girlfriend (strangely enough) will bring a new trailer for her to live in. Tuesday: Today Ms. Brenda received her new trailer that she would be living in until her house is completed, which could be anywhere from 3-6 months. However, it is about 1/3 of the size of her Fema trailer. She has to clean it out then move what she can into it and then put the rest in storage because there is no way she will be able to fit everything in this thing. I got to work at Ms. Brenda’s house with Mr. Waddington, Mr. Dave, and Erin. The sirs taught us ladies how to use several different power tools and it was a blast. I used a Saw-Zaw, a nail gun, and this neat tool called a palm nailer. I have never seen something like this before in my life, but it was sure handy! For lunch we met the other group who had been scraping, sanding and cleaning all day long. After lunch my group headed back to our house and finished building the closet we were making…which was difficult in itself because the group/contractor before us did an awful job. The walls were crooked, the beams that are supposed to be supporting the roof were all at different heights, and some weren’t even there. Some of the walls tilted to one side or the other, so not level at all. Basically this week we have made it our job to fix everything the others did wrong or poorly so that this woman can move into her new home sooner rather than later. After this day I was so pooped I went to bed at 8:00! I got made fun of but I didn’t care!!!
20: Wednesday: Today I didn’t get up until 6:00 which means I got about 10 hours of sleep! WOW! Even I am impressed. My group included Allison, Andrew, Mamma Waddington, Mrs. Berryhill, and Mrs. Mary. We were working on finishing scraping and sanding the house so that we could wash it down with mildew/mold remover/preventor. All of this is in attempt to be able to paint tomorrow. Allison and I kind of paired up together and finished scraping and sanding the house. We had a lot of fun amidst the hard/tedious work of scraping and sanding. I did get very annoyed with Andrew however. We separated Stephen and Andrew because all they did yesterday was mess around. So today Stephen went to Ms. Brenda’s house and Andrew went to the scraping house. All he seemed to do all day is complain and do a half crap job because he didn’t want to be there. It was so obnoxious I had to send him away from me just so that I could remain positive. We only did a day today and then went back to the church, got cleaned up, and went down to New Orleans for the rest of the day. 1st we toured the outside of the city where the levies broke. Houses were at all different stages. Some were redone completely, some were in the process of remodeling, and some were abandoned and pretty much destroyed. Others that had held up during the storm and were beautiful had a red X on them signifying that they would be involuntarily destroyed due to things like black mold or rat infestation. Finally the rest we saw were merely piles of rubble or empty lots. It was very humbling to see such devastation even 3 years later. During our tour we came upon an area that was called “Musicians Village”. This place was being restored by Habitat for Humanity. What was really spectacular, however, was the exuberant colors on those houses. There were only about five different colors used but every house was a color. Some were bright blue, others were orange, purple, green and maybe pink I can’t quite recall. It was kind of neat to see but wow that is certainly some color! The end of our tour included a trip to the French Courtier down town. It wasn’t anything spectacular but it was kind of neat to see. There was a huge cathedral that unfortunately was closed but the outside was beautiful. The inside was described as making one feel as if they were in Europe. Sadly right outside were about four women at two card tables set up with taro cards. There were some men along the street as well but they were entertainers. They were painted completely in either silver of gold and they would pose and wait for people to walk by. People would stop and stare at these men trying to figure out if they were real or not…which was rather a funny sight! One of the guys (who looked more like a young man) threw an imaginary rope around me and started “pulling” me in. When I walked away faster he “pulled” himself towards me. Everyone thought it was funny but it really kind of creeped me out…though I just laughed it off. After a brisk walk and a stop at the French Market place which was fun…I love markets…we walked to a local caf and ate some Benets (Benyas) which are apparently famous to New Orleans.
21: They were cheap and fabulous! After we scarfed down our Benets we got in the cars and headed back to Slidell for supper. We ate at this amazing spot that surprisingly wasn’t that expensive for the amount of food you got (enough for at least three meals). We were there pretty late and by the time we got back I was exhausted and fell right to sleep Thursday: Today was a very long day. The group was split up again and I was at the painting house along with Ruth, Mom, Mrs. Mary, Luke, Allison, and Andrew. Today we finished up caulking most of the ENTIRE outside of this house and began painting. However, the caulking took most of the day and it was messy. The siding on this house is all wood and it is old. So there were huge cracks and crevasses that needed to be repaired (really replaced but the owners wouldn’t agree to that) and filled in so it was a big job. One side of the house still isn’t caulked so that will be done tomorrow. After we were sure that the caulking had been complete for most of the house we finally started painting. It too was very messy but we (Allison, Luke and I) had a lot of fun! After lunch we drove through a rather ritzy are by the water front and saw more devastation. Out on the water all we saw were posts where houses used to be. Closer inland, where it had been newly built up, there were several new houses built/in the process of being built. They were pretty spectacular houses, some even being round/octagon shaped. At one point we saw a boat still upside down on top of a dock. It was really humbling to see, really interesting as well. After our short tour all we did was finish painting as much as we could which was the front part and the porch. Tomorrow will be the rest of the house. Right before I went to bed I got a message from Jacob (my 3 year old brother). He said “Danielle, come home soon! Love you bye!”. It almost made me cry! Friday: Today was a hard day for Erin. It being our last day she was really sad and wasn’t ready to leave. She, mom, Stephen, Andrew, Ruth, Mr. Waddington, and I were all at the painting house. Erin, Mr.W and I spent most of our time on the side of the house finishing up caulking which was really difficult because not only was it blistering hot at 9:00 in the morning (90 degrees) the area we were working in was basically a mud hole about 4 inches deep. When we had almost completed the side the home owners’ daughter/main caretaker came and introduced herself to us. That made today a wonderful day! Seeing and meeting the people we were helping always makes something like this that much more memorable..
22: Her name was Lori and when she saw the house being painted (something she was not expecting) she had tears in her eyes. She thought she would come back to a house that was well on its way to being painted but probably would look worse than when she left it. To her surprise we were almost the way to having the whole house being covered with one coat of fresh and crisp whit paint. She went on to explain that she and her husband have been helping to renovate the inside part of the house. The house itself had been found with about 2 inches of mud and 40 inches of water. As soon as we walked in you could feel the old integrity of the house that had been in her family for several generations. After our meet and greet we finished up whatever else we could than packed up, said goodbye, and headed back to the church. Once there I jumped into the shower and yet again the wasps were very friendly. Erin was in the shower next to me (these are outside showers separated only by curtains) and all of a sudden I hear a blood curdling scream right next to me. The only way to describe this scream is to watch one of those old movies where the woman sees something awful/scary. Then it ventured over to my side and I joined in. It was quite an adventure. Once it was over I ate then cleaned my stuff up and got ready to leave. Finally after finagling all of our luggage into the two cars we were off. About 20 minutes out I was fast asleep until our 1st stop. After we got going a bit and past our 2nd stop of the trip we decided to try a licorice toss between cars! Mom’s car drove ahead and tossed out a stick of licorice and our driver (Dave) tried to catch it. Sadly we were unsuccessful. This ends our adventures today but who knows what awaits us tomorrow. RECAP MOMENTS/ Things I forgot until now! I really enjoyed my alone time with Allison one day (Wednesday or Thursday). The Marshall group is all Catholic including Allison. She, however, had many questions/concerns about religious things. She is so confused and frustrated because she wants to ask God directly for forgiveness but in Catholicism she HAS to go to a priest to have him ask for her and gain forgiveness through him. She is also frustrated because she feels that all the priest ever talks about is sin and how everyone is bad no matter what…he doesn’t get past any of that mostly condemning the congregation rather than showing them the way to the path of forgiveness. Now she is considering changing over to being a protestant. She is really confused and frustrated right now and ready to be serious about her faith in a real way but can’t find something that seems to go along with what she believes in. I tried to give her a few pointers and guide her in whatever way I could but at the end of the day it is between her and God. I hope to say in touch with her even to just be an ear for her. I really have a heart for this girl and it breaks my heart to see her like this.
23: THE END