We drove into New Orleans yesterday around 5 pm. We met the sisters of the Marianites of the Holy Cross. They are in charge of the rebuild, and graciously accepted us into their rectory for a home cooked meal. There, we met Lisa, Kelly, and Brittany, the family of the home we are rebuilding. Lisa explained their tragic story - being wrenched from their homes and flown to Houston, Texas. Lisa explained the family was told they were traveling to another state, but wound up in Houston.
Following that, we toured the city, exploring the the Lower Ninth Ward and other areas that received heavy damage from the levy break. "It makes you appreciate everything you have," Talia Rudilavic said. The damage was apparent, as many blocks were still filled with destroyed homes and empty lots where other homes had been demolished. However, we finished the evening on a lighter note with a ferry boat ride across the Mississippi River.
We woke early this morning - 5 am - to start our rebuild. Arriving at the worksite by 7 a.m., we painted ceilings, installed kitchen cabinets, and cleaned bathtubs -- despite the sweltering heat index of 105. Fear not, everyone stayed hydrated! Kelly and Brittany assisted, working side by side with us as we helped complete Lisa's first home.
After working, we went on a guided tour of Mardi Gras World, a working museum that houses and rebuilds parade floats. We were then guests at former Valley police officer Robert Bigelow's home for dinner where the students got to experience authentic New Orleans red beans and rice, and homemade pecan pie.
It's off to bed for another evening as we'll be rising bright and early again tomorrow! Take care and God Bless.