19 June 2006

New Orleans & Southern Gospe-tality




This title comes from a billboard we saw on the way down to New Orleans. A group of 14 people from New City and Kirk of the Hills went for one week to help do projects at theh Desire Street Ministry center and "gutter" houses in the neighborhood.

The Desire Street facility is located in the upper 9th ward of New Orleans, an area of land nobody wanted because it was swamp land by the river, so the government built the "Desire projects" there to attempt to rid the city of unsightly poverty and contain it in one area. Those first projects, huge, tall brick buildings that housed 16,000 people, were torn down before the hurricane and rebuilt as smaller 4 apartment structures. During and after Hurricane Katrina, the area surrounding the ministry center was flooded, all of the newly rebuilt projects, and most of the houses and apartments in the neighborhood.

Working in the neighborhood was somewhat eerie. There is virtually nobody around, the streets are too quiet and still, piles of debris from the ruined houses still spilling out into the streets. The homes are in various states of dilapidation and people who have been relocated are not sure if they will return to rebuild what's left of their neighborhoods and homes. It was strange to work in such a desolate place, and we had to put our hope in God's promises for the continuing process of rebuilding and restoration.

We worked with the staff there doing various tasks in the ministry center (which flooded about 5 feet & spring break volunteers cleaned out and already started fixing up); helped roof, insulate & begin drywalling the ministry's children's medical clinic; and gutted houses of people in the neighborhood who are as of yet not able to return.

It was a good trip. Some of the highlights for me were driving in over the 10 mile bayou bridge into Louisiana while the huge orange sun set behind us, getting to know the team, gutting houses, having some good time with Jesus, and walking around the city and along the river on Friday night.

Here are some pictures on Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelaheirendt/

8 Comments:

Anonymous Neil said...

Thanks for the report Angela. Sounds like a great trip with lots of good work. I appreciated the pictures, both the ones that helped in understanding the devastation and the lovely ones of the cemetary and the harbor. The angel in the cemetary is a particularly stunning shot.

8:42 PM  
Blogger angela said...

Thanks, Neil. I wish now that I had gotten out of the van and gone inside the cemetary, but I was somewhat trapped. Next time, I guess.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Thanks for being so on top of this- esp. the pics. Love ya, Tanya

9:38 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Hi Angela! thanks for sharing about your trip. i loved the little bits of New Orleans you captured in your photos.
-Meg

9:51 PM  
Blogger Heidi V. said...

Wow the photos are great! Welcome back!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Claire said...

angela,
great pictures! thanks for sharing about your trip.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just to let you know that this post has been included in today's edition of the Carnival of Hurricane Relief:

http://www.cehwiedel.com/blogs/traces/?p=1080

If you write a post in the future on the recovery of the Gulf Coast, kindly consider submitting to CoHR:

http://www.cehwiedel.com/cohr/

Sincerely,

cehwiedel
"Carnival of Hurricane Relief"
http://www.cehwiedel.com/cohr/

10:45 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

i can totally picture the picture you are talking about... i love how those missionary people always look really pale and pasty, it's like- you're a missionary in africa for crying out loud, get some sun! :)

3:13 PM  

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