Friday, September 19, 2008

1.1M Americans volunteer to work on N.O. recovery

Posted: 8/20/07

VIOLET (AP) - More than 1.1 million Americans have volunteered to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Katrina, President Bush's recovery chief said Monday.

"As the rebuilding effort continues, volunteers will remain a critical source of hope and help in the Gulf, and I encourage more Americans to get involved, because the government cannot bring these communities back alone," Donald Powell said at a ribbon-cutting for the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity's Camp Hope, a shelter providing housing for visiting volunteers.

Data on volunteers was released at the ceremony in the suburban New Orleans community of Violet.

The Corporation for National and Community Service said that in the first year after the storm, more than 550,000 Americans participated in the volunteer effort. The number has continued to rise, hitting 600,000 in the second year, despite less news media coverage of the area, the organization said.

The increase in volunteers the second year after the storm, which hit Aug. 29, 2005, shows the determination to rebuild the region, said David Eisner, CEO of National and Community Service. He, like Powell, expects the trend of volunteering in Katrina-ravaged areas to continue to rise.

"Particularly in New Orleans we should see a dramatic increase," Eisner said. "We're beginning to see housing become available and that will help draw volunteers."

Volunteers will be needed for the better part of the next decade as the recovery continues, said Jim Pate, executive director of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

Powell and Eisner were here for the opening of a volunteer shelter that house up to 500 volunteers at a time. The shelter, in St. Bernard Parish, will house mainly volunteers constructing new houses.•

Katrina anniversary is good time to set the facts straight

Posted by neworleanscitybusiness on August 20th, 2007
By Deon Roberts, Online Editor

By the time the storm’s anniversary rolled around last year, Katrina fatigue was alive and well.

Many in America were sick of hearing about the Gulf Coast’s struggles. They had heard for 12 months about FEMA trailers, destroyed homes and sluggish federal aid.

As Katrina’s second anniversary approaches, it’s a given that there will be a boost in national media coverage. Some Americans will no doubt roll their eyes, groan and grumble as the national media presents stories of hurricane victims who are still without homes.

Some Americans will wonder why they should feel sorry for people who have had two years to rebuild. Katrina’s second anniversary is a good opportunity for America to understand why we haven’t fully recovered.

There’s good reason why St. Bernard Parish, eastern New Orleans and other portions of the metro area are still wastelands of empty, ramshackle houses where floodwaters reached as high as the roof.

The media should remind America that The Road Home is the reason why many Louisiana homes are not rebuilt. The federally funded program was meant to provide hurricane-affected homeowners with rebuilding grants of up to $150,000.

ICF International of Fairfax, Va., is heading up the program for Louisiana. To date, 184,189 people have applied to the program but only 42,340 or 23 percent of applicants have received funding. The point is more homes would be rebuilt if The Road Home would get money in the hands of homeowners quicker.

Streets and public buildings have not been rebuilt because federal recovery dollars are tied up in bureaucracy. This is not the fault of ordinary citizens. Rather, it’s owed to the way the federal Stafford Act controls how recovery funds can be spent.

Communities must begin repair work before they are reimbursed but must fill out onerous paperwork to access the funds. In some cases, the state does not have permission from the federal government to spend recovery dollars.

The media should remind America that there is still life in New Orleans. As one person commented on in May, “N.O. is dead. Fill it with water and make a state park out of it.”

But New Orleans is not dead. Residents have returned and rebuilt or are rebuilding. One recent report says the city’s population is about 273,600, 60 percent of its pre-Katrina figure.

The media should also use the anniversary to remind America how New Orleans got into this mess: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levees failed and led to the destruction of New Orleans. Katrina was a Category 3 hurricane that did not hit the city directly; it passed to the east of us with Mississippi taking the brunt of the storm. The point is our levees should have held up.

If the poorly built levees and floodwalls had not ruptured, New Orleans would not have flooded and the city today would look pretty much like it did pre-Katrina.

The national media are notoriously unsophisticated, although there are some exceptions. When the reporters descend on New Orleans for Katrina’s second anniversary, they need to explain why New Orleans still struggles.
The disaster wasn’t the fault of the residents and neither is the slow pace of the recovery.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim Leaders Call for Moral Response to Hurricanes

108 diverse leading religious officials - including, Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, National Council of Churches; Rev. Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelicals; Richard Stearns, President, World Vision; Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Dr. Ingrid Matterson, Islamic Society of North America; Fr. Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA; Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World; and Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners - signed an interfaith statement calling for not just a charitable response but for justice through long-term human rights-based recovery policy to help Gulf Coast families. Three years after the current administration's first major speech promising to rebuild the region devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the slow pace of recovery, the collapse of local institutions, homelessness, internal displacement, poverty, abusive labor practices and environmental degradation have created a moral crisis in the Gulf Coast. In recent weeks, hurricanes Gustav and Ike have added to the devastation in the Gulf Coast demanding a powerful response from people of faith. The statement urges national leaders to make enacting bi-partisan resident-led federal solutions, including the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act, helping families return and participate in rebuilding their communities, creating living wage jobs, restoring the coastal wetland and ensuring human rights along the Gulf Coast a national moral priority.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


the following is from the new orleans times-picayune of this past friday.

Sturdy old homes ideal for renewal
Posted by Jack Davis, Guest Columnist, The Times-Picayune September 12, 2008 3:31PM

The Lower 9th Ward neighborhood of Holy Cross, which three years ago had water in its living rooms, still shows the pain of bringing New Orleans back from Katrina's flooding.

But with strengthened levees that stood up to Gustav's recent test, Holy Cross also shows the hope and success that are redeeming not only this historic neighborhood but others across the city as we enter this fourth year of slow and steady recovery.

Preservationists saw Holy Cross as an important place to concentrate their efforts, to bring back a working-class, mostly African-American community of homeowners. And its century-old, well built and slightly elevated houses were the kind that could be rehabilitated more easily than replaced.

While serving the immediate need of providing housing, preservationists also wanted to prove that historic preservation is a key strategy for any stricken city's response to catastrophe -- especially for a city whose architectural character and neighborhood fabric make it unique in the world.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and its partners -- especially the Preservation Resource Center and its local chapter of Rebuilding Together -- have brought 125 houses back to life in this compact area.

Today, Holy Cross is approaching the time when the preservationists can step aside and let revitalization take its own course.

The National Trust is prepared to help as long as it takes, says its president, Richard Moe.

That's why it opened a field office here right after the storm, brought in architects and other skilled volunteers, lobbied Congress for restoration grants and tax credits to spur preservation-based economic development -- accounting for $70 million available to help rebuild New Orleans.

The organization, with the state of Louisiana, expanded its Main Street program, which promotes vitality in neighborhood retail districts, to the commercial corridors on Oak Street, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, St. Claude Avenue and North Rampart Street. In any given week, one or two National Trust for Historic Preservation staff members from Washington are in New Orleans working with neighborhoods, developers and preservation groups.

The National Trust has stepped up advocacy efforts to remind public officials that preservation of our heritage has made New Orleans a world cultural treasure, a standing that drives the tourism economy.

The National Trust put Charity Hospital on its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places this spring, along with the historic Mid-City neighborhoods that could be razed for the LSU and VA hospitals, because keeping both assets will make the medical district grow stronger. Working with residents, we believe that plans can be achieved which advance the goals of a medical district and retain historic neighborhoods.

The recent report by RMJM Hillier that Big Charity could be rehabilitated into a modern hospital at lower cost than new construction is another reminder that solid old buildings will help us save energy and make the new New Orleans more sustainable.

Preservation saves money and allows a city's scarce resources to be used wisely.

New Orleans' architectural heritage is one of the things that makes New Orleans special. The steady rebirth of Holy Cross testifies to the power of that vision.

But Mid-City, where the wrecking ball looms over hundreds of historic homes, reminds us that preservationists' work is not done, and that is why we're going to stay until the job is finished.

. . . . . . .

Jack Davis, who lives in New Orleans and Chicago, is a trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the big spill

Now that we've gotten past the evacuation, it's time to try and catch up on some of the stuff I missed posting all summer! The following was written by Brennan Dougherty, our Community Gardening manager:

The Oil Spill

Early in the morning of July 23rd, two barges collided in the Mississippi River near the French Quarter of New Orleans - one barge was freshly loaded with No.6 fuel oil. Unknown amounts of oil were spilled into the Mississippi River, the worst spill the river has seen in over 10 years. Estimates say that 280,000-400,000 gallons of oil were deposited into the river, a mere 140 barrels removed safely. On the 30th, 1200 more gallons leaked from the sunken barge. The smell of oil was strong along the banks of the levee near the Lower Ninth Ward. We heard from people who were in the French Quarter that fumes were making them dizzy and exacerbating symptoms for asthma sufferers.

I heard about the spill by phone, on the way home from a meeting of the Lower Ninth Ward Urban Farming Coalition, a newly organized group of individuals and organizations committed to creating a sustainable system of food security for the neighborhood. By the reaction of the caller, I assumed someone had been greatly hurt. When I heard it was a spill, I barely reacted. I had been wondering if I am becoming desensitized to tragedy since I’ve been down in New Orleans for the past seven months. Everyday I walk past homes still standing, barely in many cases, and hardly notice. Where it was once an overwhelming sight and threw my heart in many directions, I now just walk on normally, stepping over the asbestos on the sidewalk.

So I acknowledged the spill as being something I had never heard about before - at least not so close to home, but didn't make it to the levee for another two days to have a look. Then I received another phone call from the girl who had informed me of the spill. Some folks were forming a group to observe and throw together some kind of renegade oil spill clean-up crew. (At least that’s what I imagined it would be.) We met up, roughly 12 of us, and spoke about the effects of the spill and what we could do to help clean up. A man came who has devoted his life to researching a method of cleaning up heavy fuel oil. "Human hair is the best material for the absorption of oil" Relatively unbelievable, I thought. He donated some of these sterile hair mats, made from the bits of hair that are left over in wig production. At that point, we were hoping to drag the hair mats near the banks of the Mississippi and soak up the oil ourselves. We also decided to start compiling an informative newsletter for the neighborhood. The plan was to monitor the clean up and talk to as many people as possible to get the real facts. I decided the best thing I could do is be an observer, as the volunteer work I’m involved in on a day-to-day basis is beyond enough work as it is!

A few days later we decided to check out the banks of the river. Our first stop was Holy Cross, along the levee bank that borders the neighborhood some of us have called home for over 2 years, the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

It was worse than I imagined. The smell made me dizzy. One person just walked home. It was too much, and more than any of us had realized. Here we had given ourselves the motivation and slight arrogance that - "Yes, we're going to clean up the oil!" - but the reality was much harder to stomach. We traveled more along the river without much of a method. We found birds that were uncatchable and one that we could catch, but which was already far gone. We started fighting among ourselves. We were too late, some believed, and the cynicism started running deep. It’s all screwed now. What can we do? We don't have much money or gloves, any suits or training to help clean up. We don't have everyday to scope the river and try to save every bird. The day ended solemnly. Some attended the Coast Guard’s conference that spoke about the large effort they were to make for the banks of the river. I drove the cynic’s home.

Jonah and I, who work together closely on the gardening projects at, decided to make ourselves observers on some level- as much as we could spare it. The next day we decided to check the banks of Holy Cross, at the very least, and make sure they were cleaning things up. What we found then was harder. They were spraying the banks, making an effort to clean up, but we were still seeing distressed animals. We called the people who were assigned to deal with animals and were told someone would come out. We found a duck in bad shape, but still alive enough to make it impossible to catch. We saw another covered in oil, but even more alive somehow...

We hoped they would be taken care of, but felt it was out of our reach to help them. And it was. After an internet search and call to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service we learned that catching and rehabilitating oiled animals is a difficult task that requires experience, specific tools and facilities. When you find an animal covered in oil, its intestinal tract is harmed greatly and just the shock of being handled can be deadly. Wiping the oil from a bird in a non-temperature controlled environment can give it rapid hypothermia. We decided to let the experts do it instead. The day before, we purchased a map for a proposed intensive survey, following the spill up and down both banks of the river. We traveled south and stopped in as many locations as we could before the end of the working day. Holy Cross was by far the worst of the banks, but consistently we found evidence that the booms for catching the oil hadn’t been set early enough, or that the river traffic hadn’t stopped. The lower foliage of trees on the banks were caked in oil, like molasses, and there were rings showing just how much the water had come up and receded. There were rings of oil rocking on top of the waves brushing up against the bank. Jonah took notes, I took photos.

The Day Buffy Found Us

One day during the oil spill crisis, we had planned to maintain the prospective garden lots that we have scattered in the neighborhood. On a whim, Jonah suggest that we go back to check on the duck, to see if the wildlife people had come to catch it or not. Three feet from the last spot we had seen the duck, there it lay, its final resting spot near an oil-rimmed tree. We walked the rest of the shoreline and saw another duck alive and swimming in the oily water that was still brushing along the shore. There was no way we could catch it. We called U.S. Fish and Wildlife. They advised us to pick up the duck, bag it and put it on ice until someone could retrieve it the next morning. We had heard that No.6 fuel oil was strong enough to melt most plastics, but learned that the volatile content (fumes/chemicals that could melt plastic) was mostly gone at that time, having been carried into the air.
Jumping back in the oil fueled car, we sped to the store and got heavy duty neoprene gloves (also made from oil), bags (again, plastic) and Dawn dish soap for cleaning, in case we could catch the living duck. We returned to Holy Cross and placed the fragile body, nearly the color of the sky, into the bag. I knew it had to be the same duck. It hadn't gotten very far.

We were walking back to the car when we turned and saw a beautiful blonde pit-bull trotting towards us. Her skin was clinging to her bones, and although it looked like she might be nursing, we couldn;t be sure, and her feet were black!
We lured her closer to us. I was nervous, nearly frantic, wondering if she would come or not. As she got closer we saw oil in spots all over her body. She came calmly and won us over with her sweet unbiased dog love. She was untagged, but seemed like she knew the place. I didn't know what to do. I called our friends who were in the group of volunteers we had organized for the survey, and they said they would come out to see. Luckily (ha!) we hadn't dropped off the clothing donation that was bagged up in the back of the vehicle. We devised a leash out of a t-shirt and tried to clean her feet. She was impatient, hot and hungry, so we went on a little walk. She and I sat in the shade. The t-shirt was nearly breaking. I pulled my favorite bandanna from my pocket and wrapped it around her neck. It looked great with her beautiful blond hair. Mama and I walked back to where Jonah was sitting by the car. We again cleaned her feet and gave her water. It was nearly 100 degrees- she was hot, we were hot - but mindlessly nervous. By the time the group arrived, the bulk of the black was gone but it had worked its way into every detail of her feet. The nails were lined with it, between the toes and all. She had a spot on her nose, and kept licking it, spots on her teats, her neck, and her body. She snuggled in under the car for shade. Another girl and I kept cleaning the details of her feet with dish soap. A strange truck approached us and said "Buffy! What you doin' out?" It was her owner. He told us he lived just at the base of the Wharf and she must have gotten loose. We cleaned her as best we could and returned her home to find her eight darling puppies jumping around the back of a pick-up truck. Our visit had turned into hours and the day was nearly over.

Jonah, Tariq (a volunteer from Palestine) and I returned to Holy Cross a couple days later to see about the clean-up and the living duck we had seen a few days before. We walked the banks of the river carefully, so as not to sink in that Mississippi mud or get covered in the oil that was now settling. Jonah screamed. I rushed to see if he was OK. Midway, I found the second duck, its black body blending into the oily shore. I screamed back.

Jonah was knee deep in the mud. Tariq looked at the duck for a moment, walked away, but then helped me put it into the bag. Both of us stood detached and matter-of-fact about the whole thing. I watched his eyes closely, seeking some kind of reaction. Then I remembered that this was fairly minor in comparison to the many, far greater injustices he has been put through in his life, the friends and family that have died in front of those eyes. My eyes are new to death. I have a wonderful friend in the Marines. He was in Iraq for the invasion in 2003, freshly out of boot camp, and even remains there today. He had beautiful eyes, bluer than you can imagine, goofy and playful. When I saw him in late 2004 they had grown darker in color. They were older, had seen more, and only gave you as much as they wanted you to see. They were guarded and strong, desperately compassionate for short moments at a time. Tariq’s eyes seemed the same. We sat out on the wharf and watched the orange oil booms set to contain the spill and the oil brushing over them from the waves from remaining river traffic. I commented arrogantly on the pure aesthetic value of the oils irridescence. He said plainly, “There is nothing beautiful about that.” He’s right.

The weeks have passed now and the banks of Holy Cross are as clean as the Coast Guard is going to get them. I keep searching for a day to travel south again and follow up on the clean up, to hold people accountable. Work has been overwhelming as most of our long-term volunteers say goodbye, some after a few months and others after years. The load never gets lighter without them, just spreads across fewer, sometimes fresher backs.
Work always presses on and new, exciting events take place in the neighborhood. We set out with a wily crew from New York to pass out flyers for the Sankofa Marketplace, a market filled with art, health clinics, live music, farmers, and snowballs, that staple New Orleans treat . When we all met up again, one group told me they thought they found a duck. And they had. Duck Number 3, as it came to be known in my head. Nothing was more gruesome than this duck. The head was a foot from the body and the flesh was being consumed by maggots. It was pretty far gone. Somehow, though, it wasn't any worse than the first time. The sight was awful - for a moment you're nearly gagging - but the tragedy is not the same.

Things are more distant, less infuriating, though you know that those responsible don't have to witness these things. Somehow we're able to joke about the "duck hunting" and the journeys it’s carried us on. But I fear for my being desensitized. It makes me question my sanity. Have I lost it? What am I gaining, maybe? What have I learned? Is this growth or regression? Will much surprise me anymore? Then again most of the questions fade with time and I get by on the day to day. People I learn to love come and go and sometimes I barely notice. The touch of gray to being a long-term volunteer?

(The Department of Fish and Wildlife eventually came and got Duck #3, and got more help. When we first contacted them, they had one person staffing the spill office, and three volunteers. Their numbers are now 30 and they have rescued 60 or more animals affected. To the credit of the Coast Guard, we did find clean-up crews out, even in remote areas. The question that still stands, though, is when do you decide you have cleaned up enough?)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

gustav est mort

Okay, time for the post-Gustav wrap-up!
(just in time for Ike! >)

Darren and I spent Tuesday in Alexandria, in our meandering effort to get back as close to home as we could as soon as we could. Driving south through the state, from Alexandria to Baton Rouge and beyond, we encountered a lot of heavy weather, flooding, wind damage, power outages and traffic. We drove through Evangeline Parish just a few hours after a couple of unlucky folks were killed by a tornado, and the scene was pretty dismal all the way along. As we were coming into the city on 61 East on Wednesday, most of the traffic lights were out, but traffic was light by the time we got that far, despite the fact that Jefferson Parish had already given the “come home” order, and Orleans Parish was still under evacuation until midnight that night.

But, despite that, we managed to weave our way back into the city and made it to the Lower Nine around 2 p.m. that afternoon. After taking a quick look around our property and assessing the damage (a couple of roof shingles missing, lots of leaves and small branches in the yard, no power) then unloading the supplies from the cars, we went on a driving tour of the neighborhood to check on damage to any of our residents’ houses. I’m happy to say that, with one major exception, our houses stood up to the storm just fine. A few missing roof shingles (none on any of the roofs we’ve done), trees and branches down near, but not on, the houses. So, we’re pretty happy, ‘cause things could have sure been worse.

The one exception I mentioned was, I’m sad to say, the carport we helped Darren build for Howard (Junior) Foster. The wind got under it and lifted the roof up, or so it looks, and set it back down with enough force to buckle the walls. I was personally sorry to see that, as we’ve had some pretty good crawfish boils, domino games and lazy afternoons sitting talking to Junior since we built it, and now Junior’s got no place out of the sun to sit when he’s outside.

We spent the day Thursday picking up around the place and getting some of the mess in the house left from the hasty retreat shoveled out. Without power, and hence, air conditioning, we were pretty miserable, but we managed to find ice to keep water cold and, thanks to Laura Paul and the fact that her house still had power, we were able to duck into the air conditioning from time to time, so let’s have a big round of applause for Laura (who evacuated to Florida and may now be stuck waiting out the next two Hurricanes before she can get back)!

As a sign that things were, indeed, getting back to normal, we had two volunteers arrive Thursday evening, eager to help us clean up and get back to work. The rest of our crew made it back from Shreveport late Thursday, as well, so by the first of the week we should be back in business.

Now, of course, we just need to hope that Ike misses us and we make it through the rest of hurricane season unscathed…

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

news as it happens!

But not really exciting news, so don't be disappointed.

Darren and I made it to another safe harbor in Alexandria today, which was battered overnight by the storm. At least half the city is without power and trees are down all over. Things have calmed down now, the wind is in the 15 knot range and it's raining moderately.

We managed to contact one of Darren's pals, Adam, in the Lower Nine this afternoon, and he did a drive-by of our facility on El Dorado Street. No trees down on any of our buildings, or anyone else's on the street, so we're alright. He said there were some shingles in the street, but couldn't tell where they came from. So, maybe some roof repair and we'll be back in business, then we can get to our residents' houses and repair any damage to the finished houses and get back to work on the rest.

The city has said that business owners are going to be allowed back in tomorrow, so, being a business, albeit a non-profit one, Dirty D and I will try and run the blockade tomorrow, with the rest of the troops having received the word to return on Thursday.

I'll let everyone exactly what we find when we get there, and try and post some pictures...

the day after

It looks like we dodged a bullet this time, for lack of a better cliche, but there are no reports of flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward. Darren and I are going to try and get closer to the city today, though it's still blustery and rainy in northern Louisiana where we are. Of course, that also depends on finding a room closer to home. No word yet on when people are going to be allowed to get back into the city, but we'll be back in as soon as we get the word.

A couple of other things I wanted to mention - I've been doing all this running around with a broken ankle, and I want to thank all the kind people who have held doors, cups, plates and everything else for me to make it easier to make my way around, folks have been great. Secondly, I want to commend the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana for their response to this storm and for facilitating the evacuation. It's too bad it took a tragedy like Katrina to wake people up to the danger and the need for decisive action, but the lesson has been learned and from what we've seen, everything worked well.

Now, if we can just manage to avoid being hit by any of the next five storms lining up in the Atlantic this week, we'll be okay.

Monday, September 1, 2008

"i wish i was in new orleans..."

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on how things stand for our troops on the ground (and, we are indeed scattered all over the ground now). evacuated the bulk of our long-term volunteers as of Saturday morning. Christi Lou, Brennan, Gustavo, Eric and Eric fled to the Dallas area, where Christi Lou has family. As of yesterday, all of them except Lou started moving back toward home, and they are now in Shreveport. Ryan and Jonah stayed until Sunday noon, to take care of finishing battening down the hatches on site. They, last call I got, were on their way to Atlanta.

Darren, Laura and I left early Sunday morning. We dropped Laura off at the airport on our way out of town, and she flew to Florida (which means she's in the path of Hurricane Hannah now!). Darren and i had planned to go only as far north as we needed to feel safe, so we could get back into the city at the Gulf ahead of the storm, there wasn't a motel room to be had in the state, and believe me, we stopped at dozens and called dozens more. We ended up driving all the way to Tyler, TX before we found a room, and spent last night there. Today we found a room in Monroe, LA, so we're at least back in Louisiana, set to drive south as soon as the weather clears.

Here's what we know now, from CNN and from folks who stayed behind:
It appears that there has been no widespread flooding in the city, and none in the Lower Nine. If you've been watching CNN, you've seen the pictures of the Industrial Canal filled to the top of the levee walls, and overtopping the wall on west side (Upper Ninth Ward). The last report we saw, just a few minutes ago, indicated that the water level in the Canal was dropping, so we may have avoided another tragedy. I say "may" because the surge threat is still a worry for another few hours until the storm has passed the area completely. Right now, Baton Rouge is being battered, and we could get over 15 inches of rain even here in northern LA tonight and tomorrow, with winds inthe 40-50 mph range.

I want to thank all the volunteers for keeping their wits about them and being willing to secure the property and take themselves to safe locations. We have no idea what sort of damage we'll find when we return, but it's certain that we willhave at least roofs and windows to repair on our residents' homes, and probably our own building as well. At this minute (4:45 pm) reports are coming in that levess in Plaquemines Parish are in danger of breaching, which means that New Orleans is still, as I said, at some risk from storm surge.

Thanks for all the calls and emails from those of you who have been trying to get some news about and its people. I've said many times that the unofficial motto of is, "We'll Figure it Out!" I would like to tack an addendum onto that, and that would be, "And We Don't Give Up."

"what we do"

"what we do" from rick prose on Vimeo.