Good Evening All -
It seems impossible that this was our last full day in New Orleans. It was a great day. The weather was stunning - sunny, clear, and warm. We turned out early to our project sites and had the satisfaction of finishing the projects we had set out to do. Our satisfaction is seriously tempered by our understanding that there is so much more that needs to be done. But nonetheless, the organizations with whom we worked strucured our work well, so that we are leaving feeling that we have helped, if only a little.
Most of us had time this afternoon to take the streeetcar downtown and for the first time just be tourists and visit the French Quarter and do some shopping. But even there, at a very touristy (but great) bookstore, I heard a customer leave saying how much she looked forward to putting the book she had bought on a shelf in her den. The saleswoman who had helped her sighed and said "I can't wait until I can move back into my house and have bookshelves." The impact of Katrina displacement is everywhere, even where you least except to find it. Needless to say, I bought many books.
We gathered together for a final dinner at a local Lebanese restaurant (great food!) after stopping at the neighborhood RiteAid drugstore to buy several bottles of wine (passing by the full hard liquor selection across the aisle from the chapstick - the liquor distribution system in New Orleans is pretty bizarre!)
Wake up call tomorrow is at 6 AM and the group will leave by 8 AM to reach the airport in time for their flight home to Milton. I will hang out for a bit to wash towels and clean out the fridge and then drive north for a visit with my daughter Sarah, who is teaching writing skills to 7th and 8th graders in northwest rural Mississippi.
My suggestion to my travelling companions is that over the next few days they each compose a short message about what this trip has meant to them and either post it directly or send it to James to post for them.
Our thanks to all of you for you support!
love from us all, Anne