marathoner452: (Default)
You can start here.  Donate your time or resources.  Come and visit.  Recover Rebuild ReNew Orleans.




D., I broke the rules.  I heard more tragic stories tonight.  It's hard not to when you're workin' in the Lower 9. 

If you know where I can rent or buy a reasonably-priced videocamera, please let me know.  I go to Emergency Communities every Saturday to work and to listen to stories, but these stories need, nay, deserve, a wider audience.
marathoner452: (Default)
Thanks to getting bumped on my flight home last summer, I can fly round-trip from Baltimore to New Orleans for $22.  Yay for travel vouchers.

So here's the itinerary:
Wednesday, February 14th, 2007-leave Baltimore 9:40 am, arrive Chicago 10:55 am then leave Chicago 2:05 pm, arrive New Orleans 4:25 pm
Sunday, March 4th, 2007-leave New Orleans 11:00 am, arrive Dallas 12:40 pm then leave Dallas 2:00 pm, arrive Baltimore 5:45 pm

Next up:  contact Hands On to find out where they're based at this point and to let them know I'm coming.

~Bethany
marathoner452: (Default)
This is as much for my future reference as for anyone else.

I'm planning on going back in February for Mardi Gras. My sister leaves for school up in New York on February 12th (Monday), and I'm thinking I'll fly down to New Orleans on Wednesday or Thursday, whenever I can get the best rates. I'll stay for about two weeks, volunteering with Hands On to gut houses or whatever else they need at that point. I'm thinking fly home on or around March 1st-once again, date to be determined by when I can get the cheapest flight.

I'd love to stay for more than 2 weeks, but I need to be subbing to keep the money coming in. Also, I'm really hoping to get started on teacher education classes this winter/spring, so I won't be able to take unlimited time off from school. And once I become a certificated teacher, maybe I can move down there for good. Maybe.

I'll be there for Mardi Gras and the Mardi Gras Marathon. You're welcome to join me for any portion of that time. Not only can they still use your help, it's a lot of fun. This'll be my third trip in the past year, and it'd be more if I didn't have to work (silly work).

~Bethany
marathoner452: (forgotten)
Just when I think I have everything figured out, I get a phone call from the Southeast Louisiana Red Cross chapter in New Orleans. I have an interview on Thursday and I need to let the NPRC at the Red Cross chapter in Baltimore know my final decision by Friday.

This is scary but I wouldn't trade this chance for anything.

Needless to say, volunteering with Hands On New Orleans last week was another eye-opening experience. It's one thing to serve hundreds of meals to the residents of New Orleans and St. Bernard; it's quite another to go through their homes at their request and put what were their lives out for trash pickup. It forced me to reconsider what material stuff is worth anyway. It forced me to think that yeah, swinging a crowbar at moldy drywall in sticky heat can be construed as fun or at least great anger management, but you're talking about people's lives here. Tearing down to rebuild. You can't get much more hands-on than that. 

So thank you [profile] batemanenroute for inviting me down there, and thank you [profile] roadwarrior220 and [profile] ratkrycek for giving your time to rebuild New Orleans.  Thank you [profile] drunah and [profile] flamingjune07 for welcoming us with open arms and telling your stories.  [profile] popeguss, [personal profile] 30toseoul, and [profile] auryn24, I'm sorry we didn't get to meet this time, but I will be back.  We will be back, because we have not forgotten.

~Bethany
marathoner452: (ratkrycek)
marathoner452: (Default)

I know that most of you who read this either live here in New Orleans or are here volunteering with Hands on New Orleans, but those of you that aren't need to hear what is going on down here.

I missed my flight on Friday because I went to the wrong airport.  For your future information, DCA is Reagan National Airport just outside DC, and IAD is Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.  Good to know.  I waited on standby for a flight to Dallas, didn't get on the plane, and rebooked for the same flight I was supposed to be on Friday for Saturday.    I got to the church where we're staying Saturday afternoon, got Sunday off to wander around the French Quarter and enjoy beignets at Cafe du Monde.  I started work Monday, yesterday.

I thought I was prepared for gutting out houses, but it turns out it's a lot harder than running a marathon.  At least when you run a marathon you're done in 4 or 5 hours and you get to wear shorts and a tank top and thousands of people cheer you on. For this, you have to wear steel-toed boots, a Tyvek suit, a respirator/gas mask, goggles, a hard hat, and work gloves.  It wasn't even all that hot yesterday after the storm came through and we were still drenched an hour into working.  We were ripping the drywall off the walls, ripping drywall and insulation off the ceiling, taking down lighting fixtures, pulling out all the nails so the mold crews can come in and get the house ready to be rebuilt.  We finished up with the "gut," which was out in Gentilly.  The neighborhood was almost deserted.  It was rather eerie.

You find muscles you didn't even know you had.  You drink gallons of water and question your sanity on coming down here in the middle of July and during hurricane season and complain a little about sleeping on an air mattress in a bunk bed in an un-air conditioned church fellowship hall a long hot walk away from the French Quarter, but then you remember what you're down here for and you stop complaining.  Who are you to complain when you spend your days gutting out someone's house so they can start over?  You really have nothing to complain about because at the end of the week you'll go back home on a climate-controlled plane to your house, your car, your job where the power doesn't go off on a regular basis and you don't have to worry about whether the levees will hold this year.

I must have drank some of that Mississippi River water.  I want to come back already, but not to live like I thought I did.  Maryland is my home.  I'm strongly leaning towards the NPRC Red Cross position-I know as an organization the Red Cross has a lot of problems, but I've never met so many amazing volunteers all in one place.  Disaster response is tough work but someone's gotta do it, and I would trust almost any of my fellow Red Cross volunteers who I met in New Orleans with my life.

We have another day off today, for the 4th of July.  It is stinkin' hot in here, so I think we're going to wander down to Magazine Street for ice cream and window shopping, then see what happens.

~Bethany

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May 2010

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