Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seeking Restoration

Only some of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina I saw while in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. I went to the city over spring break to do my share of the rebuilding. Every little bit helps.

I recently visited New Orleans, Louisiana, on an “alternative spring break” trip. I joined a group of 40 other students to perform community service as well as enjoy the city—and I had an equal share of both!

We helped a needy family living in the Gentilly area by painting their home. It was a rewarding experience to hear the family’s gratitude and see the smiles on their three young daughters’ faces as we completed our project.

We also went on a tour of the Ninth Ward, the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. It was saddening to see how many homes have not been touched since Katrina destroyed them. There are so many areas of New Orleans that remain completely annihilated.

Despite the devastation that hit New Orleans, the spirit of the city remains strong. We stayed in the French Quarter and the aura of this historic area is exactly what you would expect it to be—full of life and excitement. By the end of the week I was stuffed with delicious po’ boy sandwiches, crawfish and the infamous beignets from Café Du Monde.

Though I had a great time, I can’t help but sympathize with the many New Orleans residents who lost everything and are still without homes to this day.

How does it make you feel knowing that over three and half years later so many homes are still in ruins due to Hurricane Katrina? Do you think it is the government’s fault for not taking action or the citizens’ faults for not seeking help?

Renèe N. Gibson
Institutional Advancement Intern

More wreckage from Katrina. (above)

The house we helped paint (above and below). If you're in college, investigate if your school sponsors trips like these. They probably do!


Anonymous said...

I feel that it is the responsibility of the citizens and the government. I believe the government should have stepped in, but the citizens should have been crying out for help as well. It is sad that we have people in our own country that once had homes and now are living without something that they were so used to.

Anonymous said...

I believe that during our countries economic status, it may difficult to help, but on the otherhand, I still think that we should be organizing volunteers and organizations much like "Alternate Spring Break". We may not have the means to help financially, but we as Americans can always help by lending a helping hand. The people in New Orleans obviously need help, that is clear. They shouldnt have to beg and barder for help. Much like when 9-11 occured we came together as Americans. Was that only because that tragedy was caused by other indiviuals?? And not by mother nature? Do we feel that Katrina was any less devastating because it only affected New Orleans? It shouldnt matter the degree of the devastation, if any American is in need of help, we should help. Not the government, we as in Americans should. Isnt that the meaning of being one??

SPolk said...

This disaster was no less devestating and than 911 and I think that its everyone's responsibility. It happened we can't change that and we can't place blame. I think the volunteer orgnizations should concentrate on New Orleans more until the task is finished and not forget about them... they stuck with the task of pulling New York back together I think the American people should do the same for New Orleans. They seem to have been forgotten for many reasons but since some of us remember we should shine the spot light and spread the word to the government both locally and federally and all of the volunteer organizations reminding them that, in our clean up of America - we missed a spot!

vbray said...

I did not realize things were still so bad in New Orleans. It was a wonderful thing for the students to go down and help. I guess many of us thought everything was back to normal Writing this article will let more people know about the situation. I think the official in New Orlean should be asking the federal gov. for some of that money they are giving to the banks and car manufacturers. I am sure they will put it to better use