Friday, January 19, 2007

Day Eleven

The ONEders were watching what was going on through a video camera during this cold and miserable day. Click below to catch up on the action.

We had an early start today because we went back to work on Natasha’s Habitat for Humanity house in New Orleans East. The day was an awful one weather-wise, as it was cold, windy, rainy, and – sometimes – sleeting. We plugged away anyway to help make progress on Natasha’s new home. A small group finally finished off the sanding at Don’s house and actually got to the point of staining the floors. Even without the final finish, those floors already look great.

We got out to the house and had a strange set of duties on this rainy day. Two groups went off to a nearby Habitat house where they were asked to build steps and paint doors. At Natasha’s house, one group was also building steps while others were trimming out windows on the outside of the house. Another group was installing the facia around the roofline (the horizontal line of wood just under the roof itself). Chris and a few others made several attempts to cut a complicated angle on a diagonal roof piece, but it took almost all day to get even one of the four pieces that we needed cut right. We all seriously reevaluated our mathematical abilities, unless we were outright cursing the gods of geometry.

Of course, we have to make clear that there are no walls in Natasha’s house yet and that the roof trusses have been raised but the roof itself has not been laid. Thus, we were standing on ladders fully exposed to the elements while the wind and rain cut into us like icicles. The silver lining here is that we were not surrounded by dark clouds of mosquitoes as usual, so at least we could take some slight comfort in that temporary relief.

We had the easiest lunch ever: Ritz crackers and graham crackers, peanut butter, Clif Bars, and Nutella (a chocolate spread). We strangely loved it. We continued to toil away into the afternoon and our morale improved. Still, we needed some warmth, so we decided to run into the French Quarter this evening and sit in a restaurant rather than in our chilly tent. While there, we were joined by a few special guests from California. Renee Egan, an administrative assistant in the School of Liberal Arts at SMC, brought her son John along and joined us for dinner. Another, Jennifer Pigza of SMC’s Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action, found us as we were leaving the restaurant and joined part of our group for some wandering and shopping. After eating a boatload of shrimp, some of us rode the last ferry home at 8:45 while others decided to explore the Quarter and still make it back in time for tonight’s 10:00 curfew. We have an early morning with Habitat again tomorrow.

By the way, our patient, Julie, had a doctor’s appointment today and learned that she should be able to treat her back problems with some muscle relaxants and ibuprofen. She is going to stay with Lisa tonight to get used to her new medications and then re-join us on Sunday when we go up to Cindy and David’s house to watch the Saints game. We are all relieved to know that she is on the verge of getting real relief. We miss her on the bus but we know that she needs some rest to be able to get back into the swing of things. Get better soon, Julie! And thanks a million to Lisa Trigo (again!)!

Several students worked at this home at 4829 America St. We painted doors and window trim in several places around the home.

Natasha’s house is coming along. There’s much work to be done but we’ll be back tomorrow.

Shane takes a circular saw to the eaves of the trusses atop the same 24 foot ladder.

Hey mom look at me! Tim waves from the top of 24 foot adjustable ladder. Don’t worry mom it was only set for about 20 feet.

Waaazzzzaaaappppp!!! Feke and Brian holla at the camera while painting with Habitat for Humanity.

Vanessa Cornejo and Tommy Bell use a drill to assemble pieces of the steps that will lead to a front door that the homeowner will be step through, key in hand.

Our lunch, Nnutella, “The original creamy, chocolate, hazelnut spread.”

The pride of the city over the past three months has been the Saints! The Saints have been a team full of hope, a hope that has been contagious throughout the city. We will be watching and cheering them on tomorrow as they compete against the Bears for a chance to go to the Super Bowl!!

The group tries to unwind and thaw out from the days work in the frigid cold air. It was a relief when Alicia, the leader of our site, informed us that it was time to clean up and head home.

This Habitat for Humanity house is an example of what Natasha’s house will look like when it is complete. All the Habitat houses are painted with vibrant colors. Natasha will have the choice of what “Skittle” like color her house will be.

Although Natasha’s house will be brand new, her neighborhood is full of abandoned houses many of which have been untouched since the storm.

As the temperature drops in New Orleans, the roof continues to rise as Megan and Tim work on finishing up the details on the trusses.

Bree tries to avoid the cold and wet weather, while preparing wood for window framing. The weather may be miserable, but the job has to get done!

Linzy and Emily take a moment to pose for a picture while soaking up the sights and sounds of downtown New Orleans.

Choosing to stay on deck, Janeva, Courtney, and Kellie decide to listen up on Leo’s many stories and his favorite cellphone ring tones.

Linzy, Megan, and Soraya enjoy some tasty shrimp, buffalo wings, hushpuppies, and freckled strawberry lemonade at Bubba Gumps in the French Quarter.

“Who dat?! Go Saints!” Some young fans cheer for the New Orleans Saints at CafĂ© Du Monde. The city is alive and excited for this weekend’s big game.