"Downtown, things will be great when you're downtown."
After work we rushed back to the compound to take showers before we got our first chance to hit downtown a la noche. We piled on the bus at 5 pm and tried to leave a couple people behind, but they ran and caught up. Once downtown most of us went to the famous Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets. What we didn't expect to get at the Cafe was Criss Angel MindFreak who was shooting an episode of his strange magic show.
Enough of downtown, I wanted to make a plug for the absolute devastation that still exists in New Orleans. Driving to and from the job sites and downtown we've seen so many houses that can't be described with words because they are still in such disrepair. On the way back from town tonight, we saw tents and bedrolls set up next to the highway and underneath an overpass. To be cliché, it really hits home to see this kind of poverty and meet the people who have been impacted by something like Katrina. Steve, our bus driver, drove us into the Lower 9th Ward to see ground zero. Many of the houses were gone and Steve explained to us that the state had seized most of the property, only to turn around and sell it to the highest bidder rather than try and rebuild the community. There's a reason people always say these kind of trips really mean something to them and that they gain a better understanding about certain problems in the world. I think it was said best by something we saw spray painted on a building, "Wealth in the face of poverty is an assault on our humanity."