Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A day of working alone on Touro St.

Greater New Orleans Bridge over the Mississippi

With Louis gone for a few days I shifted my efforts to work that can easily be completed by one person. I worked in a house on Touro St. This is the first house I have worked in with the homeowner living there. I met Mrs. Searls and set to work. As I worked Mrs. Searls told me her Katrina story. Mr and Mrs Searls bought their home 5 years before the storm. As the storm came ashore they attempted to leave the city. They waited to late as the bridges were closed and they realized they would be forced to ride out the storm. We know now the storm was not the problem, but the broken levees were. As the water rose on Touro St they sought higher ground. Driving west toward Jefferson Parish they were stopped along the way, the sheriff was refusing to allow anyone from the east from coming into the parish.
They turned around and were heading toward the West Bank when they realized the bridge over the Mississippi was literally broken and impassable. The same was true for the bridge on I-10 over the Industrial Canal toward Slidell. They headed toward Down Town and higher ground and taller buildings. They found shelter in the Civic Center and Mrs Searls relayed to me the horror of what went on at this facility. Many older people died and Mrs Searls cried as she told me the things she saw and heard.

They were evacuated after several days and the Searls' ended up in Arkansas. Mr Searls returned to NOLA late in 2007 to begin rebuilding their home. Their insurance did pay them, but they did not qualify for any other assistance. To date FEMA has given them $2000.oo while many neighbors have received more than $100k.

Mrs. Searls returned April of 2008 and by that time they were out of money and exhausted from being way from home for almost three years.

Operation Noah rebuild is helping them with a few small things. We are installing about seven or eight interior door units and a new kitchen counter top. I am looking forward to getting to know this couple better in thee next few days. With just one day of work, they are showing me great love, appreciation and honor and all i have done is listen and hang a few doors.

Pray for our efforts and remember to pray for the people of NOLA.

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