Monday, January 02, 2006

{New Orleans: our real World}...Reality Hits

As I landed in the New Orleans airport this morning, I was overcome with nostalgic memories and sentiments of my last service trip to New Orleans in June of 2005, before Hurricane Katrina. The airport wasn't much different in composition: there were still luggage conveyor belts, gift shops and fast food places, but there was a major difference; it was empty, desolate.

This scene of barren emptiness did not stop at the airport, continuing on a tour through the devastating path of Hurricane Katrina, which our facilitator Matt Russo led us on. From neighborhood to neighborhood, the scenes became very similar; spraypainted numbers to represent the amount of people found in rescue attempts, dark black water marks standing way above 5 feet, and homes ravaged by the path of the storm.

Thinking that it was not possible that we could see anything worse than an upside down car or smell anything worse than a mold infected St. Gabriel's church, our van slowly pulled up to a sight unlike anything that I or anyone in the group for that matter, had ever seen before. The only way to possible describe the scene, would be to that of the movie Independence Day when Will Smith walks out and there is nothing, no noise, no sound, just carnage. The lower 9th ward was to me, Independence Day reincarnate. It was a scene that engulfed all of my senses; visually I was in awe, while emotionally I was confused and shocked. How could levees shatter allowing the weight of water pushed by its current to destroy an entire neighboorhood. People slowly walked the streets looking to "pick up the pieces" to their once beautiful homes, but more importantly, to their once lives of normalcy. As we reconvened in the van, we slowly exited the area and one particular spray paint message stuck in my mind; it was light green and it read three letters: DOA, dead on arrival. We were no longer just standing in a neighboorhood, but a graveyard of people and their once normal way of life.



At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are very proud of the dedication you and your fellow schoolmates have in attempting to aid others in their time of need.
Keep of the great work.
We are proud of all of you.

Moo & Greg


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