Monday, January 2nd - Welcome to New Orleans!
Chris, Jed, Andrew and I arrived in New Orleans today. As soon as we stepped off the plane, we could tell it was hot and muggy out- around 75 degrees! It has been an amazing experience already. The SJU group is staying at the Dominican Conference Center and are working with Matt Russo, who is a coordinator for Maryknoll Mission. After we arrived, Matt gave us an incredible tour of the devastated city. I think we were all in shock as we drove through absolutely ravaged areas. During the tour, Matt said that only about 25% of the residents of New Orleans are still here. I could completely feel the quietness and the deadness of the city. Neighborhoods are completely deserted. Piles and piles of cars, furniture, debris litter the streets and the front yards. The mold is the most unbelievable thing - homes are so destroyed from water damage, that mold is just so prevalent and intense - we need to really cover our mouths before we walk into homes. I cant even begin to describe how sad and overwhelming these sites are. They are truly sites one needs to witness to understand. Looking forward to working at family's home in Matt's parish tomorrow. I think we are doing some carpentry work.