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Author Topic: My Trip To New Orleans (Katrina Spring Break 06)  (Read 510 times)
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« on: March 31, 2006, 07:58:21 PM »

I went to New Orleans w/ Campus Crusade for Christ to help out in the relief efforts. I kept a 6 day diary thing and so I thought I'd put it up here so I can share it w/ all ya'll. I do have pictures but apperently dont know how to get them into this thingy called the monitor lol. So here's how my trip went: I will be posting these stories by days instead. I'll try to do that every week. So here's the first one:

DAY: 1,
Well! We finally arrived here safe and sound. I didn't get much sleep on my first flight because it was so horrible, it was like 20 minutes of sleeping and 20 minutes of waking up. And it was like this for all 5 hours too. The 2nd flight from Atlanta was way better untill the pilot went crazy on the landing.
I got a chance to see New Orleans from the air and I have to say that when flying into it, I felt like I was going to a funeral or something. Once coming into the city you can litterely feel the heavy depression down here. The people of New Orleans are copeing w/ what they have in those FEMA trailers and stuff, but there is STILL a heavy need, there's still so much that can be done and MUST be done as far as relief efforts go. But it's all in the matter of timeing.
I'm currently staying w/ UW at Light City w/ in the lower 9th Ward District. St. Bernard Parish (sp) and the Good News Camp didnt seem to work I guess. All of us girls are camping out in what used to be a Subway before Katrina hit. The guys are in the warehouse which is connected to the Subway (they call that "The Palace" since it wasn't too badly damaged compared to where all us girls stayed in.)
Today we also decided to gutt a house. Along the way I noticed that we were being followed by two Arabic men, one of them had a video camera. That turned out to be Al-Jazeera (sp) Iraqi news midea. They interviewed me and started asking me questions of who I was, what group I'm w/ and what our mission is. They also asked me how it felt to be down here seeing all the distruction and what feelings I had towards everything I seen. I told them that we're part of Campus Crusade for Christ, that we're doing this not just for free but to glorify God by choosing to serve Him through being servants to these people who lost everything. They asked me about what it looks like inside those homes, it's a really sad situation I told them about the mold that cutt deep through all the dry walls, we even had to take out all the instalation because it was so bad, all the pipes had to be taken out and everything else that we found. (If you want to see the pictures I have a slide show prepared for Wednesday night. Other than that I can email the pictures as attachments since they are not working in the "picture" section of this site.)
New Orleans has very much become like a ghost town. The Lower 9th Ward, where we're staying at has become like a "drive-by" district instead of a warm community. Every single neighborhood in this district is trashed and abandoned. There is a Church w/ in every few homes (most of them you can't tell that they're churches cause they look like homes.) but they are all empty because the member's of those churches aren't returning, most will never come back because they lost everything. This is only but a "taste" of the emotional damage Katrina caused. On the way to our "gutting destination" Kirsten and I saw a mother w/ her son who, from what I was getting, they might have returned, for the first time to see their house since Katrina.
Kirsten and I started talking to the woman and asked her if we can be of any assistance. She told us, "You know what? I really appreciate all that ya'll  are doing here but it looks like my house is too dangerous to even walk inside. It's probably gonna get demolished." She said, "But that's okay I'm  continuing seeking counseling and am taking my depression pills so my process of grieving over the loss of everything will just speed by." She also said, "Look at that! I been living here 27 years and I'm never going to see my neighbors again." Of course when we got to the house that we were gutting and cleaning out, it's like a wildfire rammed it or something. I never thought that mold can do such damage to a single home. I'm 5'9 and in most areas here the flood waters went up to 20 feet. Thats WAY higher than me.
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2006, 07:59:49 PM »

DAY: 2
Today they gave us a chance to pretty much to what ever. Most of the groups decided to tear down more homes and the rest of us decided to take the day to tour the city of New Orleans. So me and 3 other girls went to the French Quarter's Bourbon St......Guys?? Pioneer Square (Seattle, WA) is NOTHING compared to Bourbon St. These dudes party like non-stop hurricane's themselves, I mean at night time Bourbon St. is like the bar and music corner of the French Quarter. You could hear the music from miles away.
The French Quarter is very beautiful as a place, it's the oldest "downtown" in New Orleans, it's full off everything, all kinds of shops, bars, resteraunts, and other "illegal in God's eyes" type of buisnesses. When we took the cab to the French Quarter one of us asked the cab driver how he and his family survived the storm and what kind of hit the French Quarter took from Katrina. He said, "The name Katrina means *pure* or *purefication* to think about it that's what it did to us, that's what we got and that's what we needed." He said, "You guys are going to a very dirty part of this city. There's a lot of imorality and spiritualism in that part of this city and I believe that we deserved what we got because of it." (The many survivors I talked to told me the same thing. They all put the blame on themselves and really do believe that God punished them because of their wrong-doing.)
Walking down  Bourbon St. I saw what he meant, everything that we prayed against is what came back into the city. Pretty much every single shop in the French Quarter has some kind of porno display from obscene statue's of women flashing themselves, these are considered as Mardi Gras gifts. There are T-Shirt shops that have the most sexualy obscene quotes or phrases on them. Then there's the clubs, bars, and A LOT of prostitution as well. Oh and the drugs and crime? that's mostly in the downtown area which is right next door to the French Quarter. (Believe me there's nothing to do in the downtown area of New Orleans anyway.)
What else is very upsetting is that voodoo has been led back into New Orleans, not only that but the practice of occultism is very heavy in this city. There are mediums all over Jackson Square in the French Quarter from tarrot, psychic, voodoo, and palm-reading. They sit w/ their stuff on the corners performing live witch-craft. This is a heavy prayer need.
Although the funny thing that happened is I went to take pictures of Chartres Cathederal while the girls were getting their "stuff" done w/ the palm-reader guy (believe me I had no clue that I was w/ a group of nonbelievers until that moment.) So I'm walking around, taking pictures and out of no where I hear the song "Down By the Riverside" I was like, "Man thats my favorite Gospel Hymn! I wonder where its comming from." I looked right across the street from Jackson Square where I was and there was a group of believers out w/ their instruments.
They were facing the corner of Jackson Square where all those mediums were doing all the witch-craft and were singing "I'm gonna bring down my heavy burden, Down by the riverside, down by the riverside." NOT ONLY THAT! but they also sent out some of their "hell, fire, and brimestone" type of preachers out there to kick the devil out of there.
That made me feel a bit uncomfortable because here I am talking to my non-believing friends about God, thinking that they are Christians (ya'll know me) and all of a sudden they go to get their palms read and then after that some guy comes up and starts preaching to them.
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