I’m back at my parents’ home after having spent the week with my dad doing volunteer work in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Dad is a member of a local organization called Hezakiah’s Hands (it’s associated with his church). He’s done several projects with the group, so I figured, it being important to Dad, I’d volunteer. It was a great experience. The group of people traveling down country (there were 18 of us) was a blast during the long ride. We had a great time. I was amazed by Lake Charles. It’s been a few years now since the devisitation of Hurricane Ike, but the ramifications persist. Of course, living in the places where I’ve lived, where hurricanes don’t really exist, I felt kinda ignorant having been surprised that yes, it does take a long time to rebuild a community. We would drive along the main thoroughfairs and all looked fine. Once we ventured off the main drag, though, we’d see empty lots, boarded houses, and houses that shouldn’t be inhabited.
The first day’s shock was seeing the conditions of some of these places. The habit, in Louisiana, is to raise houses from the ground, sometimes on pylons, but most of the stuff we saw was raised in a few blocks. One house was perched precariously over a veritable pool of grey water that had gathered beneath it. Its blocks were cockeyed in every direction from the force of wind and water. Some room’s floors dropped half a foot or more over the length of 12 feet. The shock the next day was when it sank in that a contractor had caused the pool. The homeowners had sunk their lifesavings into saving their home, part of that project was building earth under their house to keep out water. The contractor, instead, heaped earth around the perimeter of the house making it appear to have been filled in. The perimeter just created walls for the collecting pool. The underside of the house was rot and mold that had permeated all the way to the laminate flooring of their living room.
The people we met were wonderful. We were treated to homecooked meals (smothered quail? – I’ll show you the photos later). As I left one site, the lady of the house hugged me.
During the course of the trip, I took a few hours of footage on my D300s. I will get it uploaded sometime soon. I need to get to my equipment in my apartment first. Too much footage to hack on my laptop:) Meanwhile, I’m posting a photo of the group. We were working in cooperation with the Presbyterian Disaster Assitance (hence, the shirts). As always, I try to avoid religion in any of my discussions. My beliefs are very personal, but universal in nature, and I’ll just leave it at that.