Monday, March 3, 2008

Day One in New Orleans

Everyone was very excited to visit down-town New Orleans today and actually seeing the post-Katrina work remaining within the St Bernard Parrish area. While there were a number of questions last night after watching "When the Levie's Broke", our students were still unprepared for the devastation seen driving into down-town. While areas along the main roadways are clear, there still remain examples of the massive amount of work to be done at every turn. The sheer devastation years later continues to be overwhelming and has tempered everyone's resolve to make a difference.

The work at Musician's Village continues and it was very satisfying for Megan, Erin, Naomi and myself to see families living in the area. Our efforts last year truly made an effort and I am appreciative of the overall efforts of UNC Asheville's students, Faculty & Staff, community supporters toward this noble effort.

Erin and Megan continue to do an outstanding job and have reacted very well to the entire movement and inprocessing phase of our trip.

Steve Grant, Young Transportation, is again our bus driver / transportation coordinator and continues to be a fantastic resource. We are lucky that he choose to come with us again this year.

While visiting the French Quarter today, a significant number of the shop owners and managers gave thanks for the volunteer efforts. They mentioned that is was important to them that “we had not forgotten them” and that “we still cared about them”. It is very humbling to know that our efforts are viewed in such high esteem by the local residents, though I am saddened to see who much remains to be accomplished since last year.

While we will not know our exact work assignment or work location until 8:30 p.m. tonight, everyone is committed to doing their best tomorrow and making a difference. It was very nice having a down day today after the bus ride down, though we are ready to get to work.

The “new” Camp Hope is a very good location in comparison to last year. Everyone has a bed, hot water is available 24/7 for showering and there is a significant number of Americorp staff members present to assist us. It is very inspiring to see the commitment Habitat For Humanity has made to our volunteer efforts in providing these facilities.

I am looking forward to our work assignments this week and seeing how our student respond to this opprotunity.

Greg Dillingham
Distance Learning Services

1 comment:

India McHale '00 said...

Greg at al.,

Some of us are cheering you on from afar! As a native New Orleanian, I think I can say quite confidently that the city would not be as far along in the rebuilding process if it weren't for the hard work and hope that your group and similar others have brought with them. Combine that with the unique spirit of folks from the Crescent City and surely you have something really special. Go team, go!