Today we got to have a lot of fun in the French Quarter of New Orleans. We went on a scavenger hunt around the French Quarter and really got a feel for the spirit of New Orleans. In the afternoon, however, we got to see the harsh reality of the damage left by Hurricane Katrina as we took a driving tour around the Ninth Ward. We saw the levees which failed the city so horribly five years ago. We also drove around the local neighborhood and though a lot of progress seemed to have been made, there were still many vacant homes left untouched. On one lot, all that was left of a home was the front steps - there was literally nothing left of the house. It was so upsetting to imagine the owners of this house coming back and seeing it completely destroyed. On some of the homes, we also saw the markings left by first responders indicating whether or not they searched the homes and how many dead were in the homes. On this one house, a first responder initially put a zero for number of dead, but then crossed it out and put a two. Seeing that was really disturbing but also really powerful because it vividly illustrates the toll Katrina had on New Orleans.
I am looking forward to tomorrow when we start working on the houses. Hopefully we can make a difference and help this truly amazing city.