Saturday, January 31, 2009

First Friday in NOLA...

Louis cutting tile for Mrs. Phillip's hall bath shower.

The sun was up and bright as we prepared for our fifth day of work. We cooked our own breakfast as the cooking crew for this week was leaving. As a matter of fact, they are all leaving. All the work crews were heading home. Louis and I have the entire volunteer village to ourselves until the next crew arrives. We will cook our meals or find local places in St. Bernard.

Cruised by the NOAH warehouse for lumber and a table saw. Someone donated 4000 yellow pine 2x8x8s to the cause. They were a little more than I needed, but the table saw took care of that. Louis is now to the point in the hall bath were tile work becomes very slow. The shower is 32" wide by 48" long, the tight space makes production slower as each piece must be cut to fit. Door openings and ceilings are move difficult due to the non yielding personality of gravity. Louis is a detailed person in his profession as engineer, he is no less caring about the details of Mrs. Phillip's hall bath. When complete, it will be a labor of love, faith and compassion.

I was and am still working on raising the laundry room floor. With just two men and four hands Louis and I must do everything for and with ourselves. We are making progress, but you look at what you have accomplished some days and think,"This is going to take forever".

At 10am A.J. Raimer the plumber called. He finished the rough plumbing at Mrs. Holloway's house on Pauger St. and needed his next draft of money. Mrs. Holloway was slightly confused and did not want to pay. A quick phone call, and I assured her what he was asking and needing was appropriate and necessary for the project to move forward. I also spoke with Ken the Mennonite making plans for his crews from Canada to work there next week. I spoke with Cory the case manager from Elijah Christian Ministries, the electrician, the HVAC contractor, the iron fabricator and Mrs. Holloway a few times.

I drove across the ward to get the check from Mrs. Holloway and made sure A.J. was paid.

Mrs. Holloway is a dear hearted lady, but she is anxious. She has been out of her home for over three years and has move from NOLA to Texas and back to NOLA. She now must fill out scores of forms and make numerous phone call to satisfy the local, state and federal agencies that are helping her with grants. She also must live on the insurance money from the damage to her home. Pray that God will give Virgie Holloway peace, strength, mercy and grace as we move forward over the next month. Pray also, that two men who have come to help will be a blessing to her and her house.

Mrs. Phenix & Mrs. Phillip cooked a wonderful lunch for us. They keep telling us what a blessing we are to them, but I think Louis and I are receiving more from them than we are giving. It is a joy to work for and be with them. We worked until we were forgetting measurements and miscutting product, at that point we thought it wise to go home.

After a ride through the 9th Ward on our way home, we took hot showers and went into Chalmette for dinner. We ended up at Ben's Pizza. It was good, different but good none the less.
We also took care of laundry and by around 10pm all was fuzzy for me as I went sound to sleep after our first five days of helping rebuild NOLA.

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