I spent last week with a group from the Schweitzer college ministry doing hurricane recovery work in the New Orleans area. We worked with Northshore Disaster Recovery to do the work along with students from several other schools in Missouri. We worked with nearly 100 college students rebuilding houses destroyed by Katrina. Our group worked on putting up vinyl siding, sanding/mudding dry wall, and working on the two porches of the house. Other work sites poured footings for new houses and worked on drywall installation in another.
It's amazing how much destruction still remains in the New Orleans area. Where we were in Slidell it was mainly rebuilding taking place, but further south demolition is still taking place from a storm that occurred nearly four years ago. All around New Orleans people are still living in FEMA trailers.
We drove through the Ninth Ward on Thursday and the area has basically gone wild again with grass, trees, and other plants growing out of foundations. The occasional house in need of demolition is all that remains in neighborhoods that once had houses closely packed together. The inspection marks painted on the sides of buildings remain even in nicer areas where attempts have been made to powerwash them off the homes.
Our experience was outstanding working with Northshore and we're discussing the possibility of taking another trip in the next year to work with them again. Schweitzer has a very active disaster relief ministry that fits nicely with organizations like Northshore, focusing on hands-on work and learning the stories of those impacted by the hurricane.