This is Julia McIntosh sending you greetings for Nola. Being here is certainly an eye opener regarding the devastion from Katrina. The citizens need a great deal of help and I am happy to be here to lend a hand. We are having a grand time putting up sheet rock and insulating walls for a great couple name Joe and Gloria who are very thankful and greatful for our help. Will tell your more another day. Bye; bye.
Hi this is Sheila and Mary – Here is a bit more about Joe and Gloria. Katrina hit New Orleans a week after they were married. The house that they had just completely renovated and furnished to start their new life together was located near one of the levee breaks. The house was filled with nine feet of water and they lost everything. Rather than spending the end of August and early September ’05 on their honeymoon, they spent it with Joe’s parents in a Houston hotel room.
The house we are helping them with is Gloria’s Mom’s house; it is located in Gentilly. Gloria’s Mom is in an elderly housing unit in Texas, loves it and plans to stay there. During Katrina, Gloria’s sister was staying at the Mom’s house along with her two dogs. As the water began to rise, one of the dogs, a black lab, swam happily around the house. While the other dog, a chihuahua, got very nervous. The water got several feet high and rose as high as her chin. After witnessing other dogs swimming by the house and fighting the current, she saw a boy clinging to a stop sign. The boy was unable to swim and she doesn’t know what happened to him.
She was eventually rescued by the National Guard who broke into the house. At first the National Guard would only take her if she would leave the dogs. This was unacceptable to her and only when the dogs were part of the rescue party, did she agree to leave. She was taken to the Superdome but she refused to go in. She spent many nights living outdoors with the black lab “on guard” at her side and the chihuahua picking fights with all of the pit bulls! The only way she could get the dogs and herself safely out of New Orleans was to play the part of a blind woman with her guide dog, black lab, and her pet dog, chihuahua. We hope to meet Gloria’s sister tomorrow (and her two dogs too)!
When Gloria and Joe were able to return to Gloria’s Mom’s home, it was in ruins. They renovated it only to learn that the sheetrock they had used was toxic and has to be removed. (Toxic sheetrock is wide spread throughout New Orleans.)
This is where we come in. Together Gloria and Joe along with Gloria’s Mom and their extended family have pooled their resources to renovate (again) and expand the house. Right now it is just a shell. They are living in it with all of their belongings in piles, in closets and in crawl spaces. We (9 of us along with 6 people from Minneapolis) are working together to get them back into their house as quickly as possible. In the past two days we have become expert insulation installers and sheetrock hangers. (We’ll be available for hire soon!)
In addition, we have listened to them tell their stories, cried with them and prayed with them.
To All Of Our Friends, Greetings from New Orleans.
Thank you all for this opportunity to reach out and help our brothers and sisters here in New Orleans. It’s been 5 1/2 years after Katrina and progress is being made but the signs of this devasting disaster are still very present. The need continues.
The group is split up and working at 2 houses. I am working with George, John A. and Lorraine. We are at a home that is about a month from completion. It is owned by an elderly woman who has been in Atlanta, Georgia since Katrina. We are installing window sills, moulding and painting. It is exciting to think about how this woman will feel when she gets back to her home.
God blesses us every day. Thank you all for helping us share our blessings and gifts with our brothers and sisters here in New Orleans – John Duff.