This morning we had breakfast at 7am. On the ride here we got a tour of New Orleans from Bus Driver Al. We had no idea what we were going to build today but we were nervous and excited. Our tour of New Orleans (drive to our site) was an amazing site to see. We got to see the levees and other areas. Al also told us a little bit about his story on our drive. We hope to learn more about his story and history throughout the week. Later this week we are going to learn more about his dad who lives 3 blocks from our worksite.
Our goal for the week is to take down a fence, take down a shed, clean up the yard, calk the window, and build a security fence. The homeowner for the week is living off site for the time being. We walked into the trip today not really knowing what to expect. Bryan, Noah and Carl have all been on the trip before, but the rest of us decided before the trip not to have any expectations. Tessa thinks it is weird that only some of the houses on the street are being rebuilt. The reason that some houses are not being worked on is the financial status of the homeowner. We learned that if the people leave the property, the city may come in and send something to the address of the person in the house, the city give the homeowner about 90 days to respond before the house goes on the demo list. Many of the houses down here are owned by people, and don’t have he actual deeds. They usually pass down the house from generation to generation. The other issue is that people don’t always have official deeds to the house, and therefore it is sometimes difficult to prove ownership. This makes it very difficult in order to rebuild the house. We didn’t really find an answer to the issue of squatters. Mostly these houses are abandoned.
So to start off this morning, the four guys took down the shed, while some girls took down the fence, and finally other girls were working on glazing windows. The boys made knocking down the fence into a game, taking turns smashing the shed with a sledge hammer. They each took one hit and then passed it on to the next member. The girls working on the fence worked together as a team to cut the chain linked fence including knocking down the metal poles. After the fence was down, the girls went back to help the boys knock down the shed. With a group effort the shed came down. Now we are currently working to clean up the back area where the shed was. Moving our large pile of wood to the front dumpster (which is full). We hope to be able to complete all the tasks put before us by the end of the week.
Tonight we are hearing from a speaker who was a mayoral candidate, James Perry. He is an activist in the city. We look forward to hearing from him and learning about his experiences and passions.
Peace, Love and Happiness
Springfield College Hillel