Back From NOLA

17 01 2006

This is by no means my last journal entry about my time in New Orleans, there is much more to be said. For example, I really want to talk about Bush’s comments about New Orleans. He happened to be in the area the same time my group and I were there, but his experience of the city was vastly different than ours. I just heard on NPR that he will be in the 9th Ward and St. Bernard’s Parrish today, assessing damage down there. However, I don’t want to get into that right now. I just want to finish talking about our experiences down there.

As I said in my previous post, we had to be in the Lakeview district of New Orleans for two days. Lakeview is actually a middle to upper-middle class community in New Orleans. It is predominantly white and has some of the best schools in the city. We helped two families. I already talked about the first house we were at. We actually went back there on Saturday and finished gutting the house, we had only done the garage and the backyard when we were there before. The second house was just a few blocks away. We met a woman named Mona. Mona recently had open heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, and her son Andrew attends Tulane. Our task that day was to rip out dry wall, take down ceilings, pull out another kitchen sink and cabinetry, and to take out all of the major appliances out of the house, including refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer.

We were able to pull out most of the drywall and the ceilings, and we took out all of the appliances, but were not able to completely finish the job because we started the day so late (it rained the first part of the day, and we were stuck in traffic due to a major accident). All in all though, I felt good about the amount of work we did do for the homeowner in such a short amount of time. The Oberlin kids worked really hard, I fell in love with each of them because of their passion, hardwork, and intelligence.

Looking over our entire experience in NOLA, I must say that I really recognized God’s hand upon us. As I said in my previous post, we were supposed to work with a group called RHINO (Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans) and Rebuidling Together for the balance of the week. However, if we worked with those groups the balance of the week, then we would have never seen St. Bernard’s Parrish, Gentilly, and Lakeview. We would not have been able to meet Monroe and his wife in Violet, Don and his wife in Chalmette,nor Melrose and Mona (and her son Andrew)in Lakeview.

Finally (for now, as I said, there is much more to write) I have to say that New Orleans took a piece of my soul. The city has a claim on me that I cannot completely explain. You know, it is said that you develop a sort of love for people that you wind up helping. I think I have a love for the entire city of New Orleans and St. Bernard’s Parrish.




2 responses

17 01 2006


This is great. I look forward to reading your notes.

18 01 2006

Hi Ant,

Long time no talk to. Yeah, I will be unpacking my thoughts on New Orleans well into the next week. The experience had that kind of impact on me.

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