Saturday, January 07, 2006

Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint

Each place that we visit in our lives will introduce us to something new- whether it be new foods, new climate, new scenery or a new culture.

My experience in New Orleans, however, taught me a little bit more than all of that.

Yes, I was able to sample corn grits and po boy sandwiches, bask in 70 degree temperatures in January, take in the sights of the beautiful parts of the city and alternatively the other areas' eye-opening and heartwrenchingly devastated remains, and finally I was introduced to the rich culture that is the birthplace of jazz and everything Mardi Gras.

However, I will take from this city much more than these tangible things. I will take from this city the spirit of a downtrodden people pushing to rebuild. I will take from this city the unrelenting will to move on, despite hardships and unfortunate realities. And I will take from this city's residents the belief that love survives all.

Jim Huck, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, spoke with us Thursday and offered some powerful insights into the Hurricane's effect on the city. Jim told us that rich and poor didn't matter when the hurricane hit, levees broke, and the city had been flooded. No matter what amount of money you had sitting in a nest egg in the bank and no matter what expensive car was once sitting in your expensive driveway, it would not save you. Nothing tangible could. What mattered was what lie inside of each individual person.

Unfortunately, many people did not survive this tragedy, as they may have not been met with the resources necessary to escape to survival, or were not even afforded the opportunity to try. These lives will always be remembered and kept in our prayers and hearts. It is hard to find sense in tragedies such as these. But we can do justice to the lost lives by refusing to forget what has happened and the people affected by it.

It is the sincere hope of the 14 individuals privileged enough to have seen the city and met its gracious people to raise awareness about the current situation in the city and to inpire others to extend aid to it. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog in order to learn of the events and insights gathered from the individuals that went on this trip. Please stay tuned as we compile pictures and eventually a documentary to further share our experiences.

God bless.


At 2:02 PM, Blogger b b wood said...

As Shakespeare so eloquently said:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

It is because of the goodwill of thousands of people like yourselves who have reached out to the people of New Orleans in this desperate time of need that makes recovery not only possible, but probable.

Being able to share our grief over what has been lost is such an important part of the process, much more so than the physical act of clearing away the debris, as you all became well aware during your visit.

More importantly, such acts of human kindness over the last couple of months have allowed us in the city of New Orleans to recover not only our dignity but our memories. May you continue to make the world a better place to live.

~Bonnie Bess Wood, Director
Rouquette Library
St. Joseph Seminary College
St Benedict, LA 70420

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I think its great that the plight of the people of NO has been felt throughout the country, the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast - where the hurricane directly hit are suffering and the media and the volunteers from around the country do not even mention their losses. They don't have anything left of their homes for people to help them clean out. How bout sending some of these groups to help the people of Mississippi who have nothing and who seem to be overshadowed by the floods of New Orleans? Waveland and Bay St. Louis citizens are still living in tents on the lots that once contained homes. At least the New Orleans residents have buildings to come back to. The growing frustration and what seems to be an increasing division between the two states destruction is felt here in MS. No one seems to think about us down here while New Orleans is the only place anyone talks about. If the media would show what it is like down here maybe someone would care..but until that happens, we have to rely on ourselves - and already being one of the poorest states in the union we don't have much to work with...its hard to watch all the FEMA and other relief efforts pass us by. Thanks for helping the region in any way you can though.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger meganhalferty said...

Dear Anonymous,

I will be returning to the south this May with my family to continue hurricane relief efforts. In planning this trip, I have asked for contact information of people that could help me set up accomodations and connect me to individuals that have need. My only contact information is in New Orleans, but I am very interested in contacting someone in Mississippi. If you have any contact information for anyone that I might be able to set up a trip with, pleae email them to me at

Thank you for taking the time to read of our experiences and for sharing your thoughts with us.

Megan Halferty

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