Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gulf Coast Mission Trip Update #3

Gulf Coast Mission Trip Update – Day 3 (Tuesday)

Another early morning saw us moving and ready for a day of
hard work. The breakfast crew treated us to strawberry
and/or chocolate chip pancakes, so we were well fed and
ready to go. By 9:00 each group was on their work sites.

The group at LuAnne’s house had finished removing personal
belongings and began removing walls and floors. The smell
was much better, until the floor in the basement came up.
Those N-95 masks have been a definite necessity! All that
remains in this house is to finish removing floors, remove
the ceiling and empty out the garage. We expect to finish
this house up on Wednesday.

The group at Mike’s Mom’s house finished their work
today. The walls have been removed down to the studs. The
ceilings and floors have been taken out, and all the
deconstruction debris removed. We even trimmed back some
trees. This work group is looking forward to the
opportunity to start from scratch with an “untouched”
house. They will get their wish tomorrow!

The groups both stopped work early in order to get back and
clean up for our outing. (We originally were going to take
the evening off Wednesday, but we were invited to the
community dinner at JCPC Wednesday night, so we happily
changed our plans.) The youth showered in record time, and
in their spare time debated which was harder to remove – a
full refrigerator or a hot water heater with the valve
broken off – it was a draw! It is amazing to see how much
energy these youth have after working for a day to keep
playing as hard as they work!

We loaded up the bus and the Durango and drove down to the
French Quarter, passing the Superdome (which plans to reopen
in September!) and downtown New Orleans. The French Quarter
was relatively untouched, so most businesses are still in
operation. Due to minimal tourist traffic, many places are
not open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, though. We ate dinner
at the Café Maspero, a great little sandwich and seafood
place. Everyone was able to find something to eat and
enjoyed a lively meal. After dinner we wandered the French
Quarter, checking out every little tourist shop on the way.
A detour took us to a section of Bourbon Street, and after a
very brief taste of the unique culture, we moved back toward
Decatur Street. Our evening ended with a stop at Café
Dumond for their famous beignets and coffee. We got back to
the church in time for evening devotions and bed, ready for
another day of work.

The spirit of the people has been dampened but not crushed.
They are determined to rebuild New Orleans, and this is most
evident in the French Quarter. Life is going on for the
city and they are moving on. We were greeted with thanks
even from strangers on the street who found out why we were
here. Any continued notice of their plight is greatly
appreciated, and they welcome any who come to help with deep
gratitude. It has been moving and heartening to talk with
people along the way
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