hey friends, i'm blogging from the big Easy...that is, New Orleans.
We're currently staying in a bed & breakfast just a few blocks from the French Quarter where there happens to be some internet access, and I thought I'd fill you in a little.
I've seen some major devastation these past few days that I'm currently still processing both mentally and emotionally. It isn't something that can be comprehended, that's for sure.
We're working in St. Bernard parish (a parish is a county here, fyi) where there was 100% destruction. For those of you who don't know, St.Bernard Parish is the first county in the United States to ever be 100% destroyed. 280,000 homes were lost, and there is an unbelievable amount of flood damage. It's surreal to drive through neighborhoods where the water line is visible at various levels. The tent where we're working every day and where we had church on Sunday morning happens to be in a Super Wal-Mart parking lot. We were told that the water was as high as the 'W' on the Wal-Mart building...that's 16-17 feet high, folks. Many houses flooded from 2 feet to 8 feet within a matter of 5 minutes.
I could fill your heads with statistic after statistic that I've learned, but it's nothing until you see this place and meet the real people who have been through it. I've already come in contact with hundreds of real survivors, and I promise you they are truly wonderful and grateful people, much unlike what the media portrays. They are thankful to see that other people care for them, and we're thankful for the experience of meeting them and hearing their stories. Thankfully, they're very open and willing to talk about it.
I can't wait to tell you more stories and post pictures when I get back, but for now I wanted to fill you in a little on our experiences. Most importantly, I just want to say that if you can come down here for a long weekend or a few days or a week or month or summer, please do. As the world just 'remembers' Katrina, these people are still living it. It's not over yet. In fact, it's just now beginning. While we're still stuck in the devastation, they've moved past that and have begun to find hope. This is home to them, no matter what has happened, and they're ready to rebuild.
Please be in prayer for the people of New Orleans and particularly from St. Bernard Parish. Keep praying for good health for our group while we're here as well as for the thousands of other college students serving during their spring breaks this week here. Pray that good work is done and that as this city begins to rebuild, they'll know that the world still cares, and most importantly they have a God that hasn't moved. He's here now more than ever, and He's moving in HUGE ways in this place. Keep praying people.
It's getting exciting.