Good evening all -
tonight it really is Anne blogging. All previous postings from "Anne" have really been from Mary Truslow - your excellently chosen new warden and my 3rd cousin once removed (that's a factoid I bet few of you knew!)
The weather in New Orleans today reverted to gray - with a raw chilly wind. This weather means we could not have continued to paint at Beverly's house , so we felt less guilty about moving on to spend the day with Bayou Restoration - a group that is committed to trying to restore and revegetate the swamps and bayous that buffer New Orleans from the Gulf. The ecological story is fascinating and way too much for a blog. We transferred 300 mulberry trees from small test tubes into pots for transfer to the bayou. We worked so fast that we had completed the day's assignment by lunchtime and moved on to other tasks! But it was cold!
Our four "Rebuilders" returned to the house where they have labored all week and continued to move it back to habitability. I heard stories of more closet painting and someone was smart enough to draw on George Thomas's skills as a mason to get some brick repair done. They will return for more tomorrow.
Judy Rice and Mary and Will Truslow dedicated their day to food ministries - returning to the Dragon Cafe and Loaves and Fishes where Judy worked last year.
At the end of the day most of the group went to the evening service and dinner at St. Anna's and ended the evening with beignets at the Cafe du Monde.
For me, the most striking difference from last year is that organizations and indivudals seem to be moving on. Don't misundertand, the work still to be done is overwhelming, but as several have observed to us, anyone who is still not back in their home after 4 1/2 years is clearly dealing with other issues. So the church and others are realizing that the issues now are the underlying issues that have been laid bare by the Katrina crisis. On a more positive note, I am struck, as we were last year, by the young adults who have chosen to come to NewOrleans to help and by how many of them are choosing to stay - as one said to us " We are becoming a seriously blue city in a very red state - we have the chance to re-invent this place" (not an exact quote, but close enough...). Interestingly, getting a correct census count is a very big deal, as is the mayoral election next Saturday.
But the BIG, dominating news is the Saints and their bid in the Superbowl. You all would be reminded of the first Patriots and Red Sox wins - car flags, banners, tshirts, sweatshirts, slogans. A former sports reporter (now deceased) apparently vowed that if the Saints ever made it to the Superbowl he would walk through downtown in a dress - on our Sunday tour we witnessed many men in dresses - reminded us of the St. Michael's auction!
We hope Ranjit and Johanna are having a safe trip. We miss them and all of you who were here last year - we are grateful for the emails from the parish and look forward to sharing this experience when we come home.
Sorry to go on so long! Anne (hopefully others will add pictures from today, tomorrow!)