Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Signs of life

I looked back at the last couple of New Orleans posts and they sound a lot more depressing than I really felt - especially compared to my April trip. Signs of life and sheer New Orleanian determination are everywhere. To close out the trip, here's a few observations:

* Volunteerism continues. 50 of us went down from my church to help rebuild. We replaced a group of more than 20. At least two other churches from Shreveport were in town the same weekend.

* True faith abounds. Many of these folks have been let down by every institution they trusted, but they sang their hearts out in Mass: "Come my here, my Lord." I cried.

* Three babies were baptized in church Sunday morning.

* When the pastor asked how many people planned to return to their homes in the next month, several hands went up.

* A car displayed THREE bumper stickers: "I (heart) St. Bernard"

* The attitudes of people have shifted from shock and despair to perseverance and hope.

* St. Gabriel (the church where we stayed) had raised $1.3 million toward rebuilding its church campus -- without asking the parishioners for any money.

* Church volunteers were working on more rebuilding projects than demolition.


* Trash is being picked up.

* Everyone who went on the trip will continue to talk about the experience. In the words of Sunday's Old Testament reading: "For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch." (Isaiah 62:1)










5 comments:

Donecia Pea said...

Wow, not only is your account interesting, but the pictures really tell the story. It's definitely not the picture perfect snapshots they give you on TV commercials or Saints games. I was just having this discussion with some of my friends, none of who live here in La. But I was saying how even after nearly 2 years since Hurricane Katrina, there's still so much work to be done and how it's not nearly as picture perfect as they're ottften being led to believe.
I understand that tourism generates major dollars for the state, hence all the advertising put into New Orleans events, but kudos to volunteers like you who actually realize the importance of improving, rebuilding and revitalizing the quality of life for so many tax-paying New Orleans residents who have been let down and dissappointed by a government that's supposed to protect and provide for them.

Donecia Pea said...

Wow, not only is your account interesting, but the pictures really tell the story. It's definitely not the picture perfect snapshots they give you on TV commercials or Saints games. I was just having this discussion with some of my friends, none of who live here in La. But I was saying how even after nearly 2 years since Hurricane Katrina, there's still so much work to be done and how it's not nearly as picture perfect as they're ottften being led to believe.
I understand that tourism generates major dollars for the state, hence all the advertising put into New Orleans events, but kudos to volunteers like you who actually realize the importance of improving, rebuilding and revitalizing the quality of life for so many tax-paying New Orleans residents who have been let down and dissappointed by a government that's supposed to protect and provide for them.

Diane said...

Thanks Donecia! One of the volunteers we overlapped with told me about a member of her group. When he mentioned to a friend that he was going to help in New Orleans, the friend said "Isn't it a little late?" Just goes to show what happens when we quit talking about it...

Anonymous said...

The government is not supposed to provide for us, but then again, that is the mindset of so many people, especially those who aren't working and aren't paying taxes.

Erin said...

My folks were in NO last week working with Habitat. They said that there were on the order of 1600 people from all over the country giving their time and talent. It's good to know that we as a country haven't forgotten. Thanks for sharing your stories.