Rebuilding Our Communities – Nov. 12

NOLA 15

November 12 – Yesterday was a busy, productive day. We started by taking a “team” picture, an annual tradition. Our 5 first-time volunteers then went off for a “Katrina Tour” led by Roger and Sally Demler.

The rest of us stayed behind and got to work. The first order of the day for part of the team was sanding the walls where we had patched and repaired the drywall, prepping them for painting. Another team continued to work on a handicap ramp. The day before a concrete pad was poured near the driveway which will be the landing for the ramp. 

This part of the week is always so amazing to watch. This house which was in serious disrepair with mold and rot from years of water damage from a leaky roof suddenly starts to transform into a beautiful, bright living space. We still have a long way to go, but at this point we can see the possibilities. 

The homeowner, Thelma and her sister brought us lunch yesterday: red beans and rice along with potato salad and dirty rice! A beautiful, Louisiana feast!

Spending time with Thelma, her sister and Grand-niece has been a highlight of this trip. They are funny, warm, generous, and outrageous! They like many of the families we have worked with over the years have had a tumultuous and often difficult life. The house we are working on was built in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The house which was originally there was destroyed by the flooding. The roof of this new house, less than 10 years old, began leaking after only a couple of years. This story is heard over and over again: unscrupulous contractors providing shoddy work that ends up costing families their homes.

Thelma and her family moved out 3 years ago, unable to repair the roof and the damage caused by the leaks. Thelma and her husband will be moving back into the house no matter what state we leave it in. Our motivation is high to leave the house in “move-in” condition and not partially or almost ready, since the way we leave it is the way it will stay.

By the end of the day, the all the rooms except one had two coats of paint on them and the handicap ramp reached the concrete pad. Still lots to do, but we are hopeful we can get it all done by Friday.