Hurricane Katrina volunteering in New Orleans

I went to New Orleans with Common Ground to offer some post-Hurricane Katrina support. Mostly, I stayed with a hundred other volunteers on cots in a high school gymnasium and worked in small teams to salvage homes in the Ninth Ward.

I was driven to provide some service, having worked in a shelter in Philadelphia of victims.

Itinerary Common Ground in New Orleans

  • Saturday, December 16, 2006 – arrived in Philadelphia at 6:30am, flight to Cleveland was delayed, so we wouldn’t make a connection to NOLA, put on a 12pm to Houston for 5pm to NOLA. Wait for shuttle to Common Ground by 7:30pm, find spray painting hippies, found room. Vanessa comes in.
  • Sunday, December 17, 2006 – banjo wake up call before breakfast at 6:30am of powdered eggs, vegetables and applesauce. Masks, boots, gloves, Tyvek suits. Team D for David. Truck bed ride to house. Ripped sheetrock down from walls, ceiling. Lunch of beans, cornbeef and hash. Ceiling to back sheetrock 4pm. Long line for Cold shower with Vanessa. Dinner of spaghetti, chicken, apple pudding and beans, Evening meeting and safety meeting with Hattie. Security from 8pm to 2am
  • Monday, December 18, 2006 – normal day off, but with many new groups some groups went out to gut. Late sleep until 9am, connect four and mingling until 11am, ate corn beef hash. Noon gut, one house, finished ripping down sheetrock and emptying to street. Invited to go crabbing with the homeowner (though Antron and I never went). Cold shower. Antron and I walked on Congress to Royal to Historic District, French Quarter, Canal near Trolley to Bubba Gump Fish with Becky from Chicago; I had crawfish etouffee which was quite good. Café Brasil for jazz, walked home
  • Tuesday, December 19, 2006 – 630am cornbeef hash breakfast. Another gutting day with Ryan. Finished house, went to another, so we never got lunch, did have some oranges from ‘Meg’s’ orange tree across the street. Came back early and got cold spaghetti, then took cold shower. Dinner beans and rice, did dishes as Temple group. Arab Israeli Palestinean documentary on media coverage and bedtime.
  • Wednesday, December 20, 2006 – 630am breakfast of pancakes and donut. Went to house, found dead cat and buried it. Found pornography, went under house to turn off water so Antron and I could finish the bathroom. Had lunch of ravioli along with Pepsi provided by “Meg’ I knocked down ceiling, found rats. House mostly done when we left, had orange. Rainy day Cold shower. Saw Brandon Darby, Common Ground’s founder, speak. Determined to go out in rain, went to Café du Monde, got very wet and went home.
  • Thursday, December 21, 2006 – pouring rain, ate breakfast of beans, watched ‘Loose Change’ documentary, and then one on the ‘power of the mind.’ with David and group, went out to Mother’s cafeteria on David’s last night; I had a ham po boy. Preservation Hall, danced with old lady, went to the bathroom in Pat O’Brians and saw dueling pianos We went on to Bourbon Street.
  • Friday, December 22, 2006 Ate jambalaya with rabbit and sausage in Coop’s on Decatur near Esplanade, Café du Monde again, Antron and I took a ride on the trolley, were going to karaoke with group but failed and then went to Bourbon Street again. Hung out at The Saloon on Bourbon street. BA
  • Saturday, December 23, 2006 – 830am wake up, walked to French Market, had breakfast of the ‘worlds best hamburger’ at Clover Grill, cooked under a hubcap at 900 Bourbon Street. Walked back to St. Mary’s in time for collecting bags and taking shuttle at 12:30pm to airport. Direct flight to Newark, picked up by Maureen Wink and Michael Butler.