Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Today is a day that has many important meanings: today is the very last first day of my career as an undergraduate, it is only a few days before my 22nd birthday, it is a week and half since we have returned from New Orleans, and it is the first day back on Campus to begin to share the stories, realities, and experiences we all encountered on our mission trip to NOLA.
Personally, it was weird to come home, back to a place where buildings are free of high water marks, a place where the putrid smell of mold is non existent, and even more so, a place where life moves so quickly, so loudly, and so vividly.
The comparison to four days spent in the aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina seems surreal in a sense, that simply the sounds of birds chirping or the busy rush of the East Coast is a privilege and an enjoyment.
Since my return, the question has not yet waivered or faded out: what was it like down there? Is it as bad as I imagine?
And yet, I find these questions a bit selfish to those wanting to know. Yes, it is great that they want to hear about what the reality of the situation is, but the truth is, I'd rather be asked, how can we help or how can we fix this situation?
BUt then again, maybe that is the daunting task that lies ahead of us. The truth for the 14 of us, is that in more than one sense, the trip to NEW ORLEANS was a mission trip in that we were there to understand, and be with and for the people of NOLA but on the other hand, it is that we have been charged with a mission to BRING THIS BACK. And, that is what we plan to do.
The entire trip we documented and video taped so that now we are about to begin the process of creating a documentary so that we can show the campus the reality of the situation. I learned on the trip that the only way to extinguish the dichotomy that exists within the minds of everyone that it is US in Philly and THEM in New Orleans of us and them in so many terms, can only be eradicated with reality and experience.
That is the daunting task that lies ahead of us, but yet as a team we do not look at is as a challenge, but rather a mission, and one that we are ready to embark on to BRING IT BACK to those around us, and extend the reality of the situation to all those who see the video or look at a picture, or read a journaly entry.


At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Jimmy Huck said...

Amen, Chris! Bring it back! Just an update that we are experiencing our own homecomings of sorts here in the City of New Orleans. At Tulane University, the campus is abuzz with returning students and college life is humming along pretty much as it did prior to Katrina. As elementary and high schools open, youth and children are returning to the city, adding a new vibrance and exuberance and hope to the environment. And Mardi Gras parades will be rolling in a few short weeks. I think it is important to remember that not only is New Orleans recovering from a massive destruction and complete community dislocation, but it is also a place where happiness, good times, and normalcy are all doing their best to peek through the veneer of the "bad." Even though there is sadness at the loss, we are not always sad! But keep remembering us as we move forward, both in your recollections of the reality of our struggles, but also in the hope of our future. God bless.

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