Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Halfway through!

We are halfway through our experience with Habitat and we have already accomplished great things.  The house is almost done with putting up siding and I hope to see the outside of the house finished before we leave. Coming into the week I was excited to work with Habitat, but unsure of what we were doing.  I was excited to hear that we were putting up siding because that is something I have never done before and I saw it was a challenge to overcome.  Now I know how tiring and difficult it truly is both physically and  mentally.  But seeing the future homeowner working along side of us is all the motivation I need to get back to work.  So far the experience has been exceptional and I can't wait to see what the next three days bring.

Monday, February 27, 2012

John Wilkes Booth
The tour of NOLA [by Jon Wilkes Booth] was very eye opening. However, it raised more questions than it answered.  It inspired me to not only help out with building houses, but is has also inspired me to encourage and build up the people down here.  They have such bright spirits and I'm going to try my best to learn as much about individual people and their stories.  Cory


Our first project was to be exterior painting with Beacon of Hope.  Due to the rain, half the team will be doing an alternate job with a partner called Green Light. Students will be going to residents homes to replace light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs. The other half of the team is working with the Community Center of St. Bernard Parish sorting clothes and food.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Love at First Sight

New Orleans has not failed to provide an absolutely exciting adventure these past two days. It is an absolutely enchanting city. Until now, I did not believe in love at first sight. This city holds an irreplaceable culture, and feeling that has weathered unthinkable turmoil. Reading and hearing about New Orleans is a sore way to experience what truly exists here. The people, music, architecture, wildlife, and food are unique and characterize this area in a special way. They are gifts to this Southern part of Louisiana and hold the ends of heartstrings attached to Americans although it is merely a small corner of the country. I am overwhelmingly grateful and excited to experience everything that is here. I want to still feel the happiness that exudes from this city in my bones long after I leave. Krista

Eye Opening

Eye opening day in New Orleans. This city has a lot to offer. Its reputation is no where close to being an accurate representation of what it's all about. The people are welcoming, generous, and have amazing stories to tell. As John Wilkes Booth has shown us, there so much to learn (besides about colors like pinurple). First work day starts tomorrow...let's get at it. David

Friday, February 24, 2012

One moment at a time...

Waiting at the Airport

Hey everybody!
So I am going to piggy-back off of Melissa's post... kinda. I have been dragging this week and it has taken a few hours before our flight to realize why. I had been forcing myself to focus on school, thinking of the two exams I have after break. Now I realize why I was feeling so down, because I wasn't living in the moment. Now, a few hours before we embark, I am even thinking ahead to what I might expect. Going over what I have packed and if there is anything I could have possibly forgotten.
I need to stop.
I might not know what to expect, but I have to let myself be excited. So I am going into this trip with my mind open to all the possibilities of what might happen. I am done thinking ahead and am going to live in the present, and presently I will be trying to catch up on some sleep and enjoying the quiet peaceful campus. I am going to enjoy every moment of anticipation, in my own relaxed way.
Much love,

Just a few hours away

It is Friday night and I am just a few hours away from leaving for New Orleans. What am I doing? Homework. While I tried and tried to stay ahead of my work this week and get things accomplished, I still have a few assignments to turn in. I am so ready to be done and go on this trip. I can’t wait to go somewhere where I will have the chance to get out of my daily life and start to gain a new perspective on the lives of others. At school, I get so entrenched in my work and in they things that I feel as though I “have” to do, that sometimes I do not take enough time out of my day to think about the world around me.

I’ve been to the Gulf Coast to do Hurricane Katrina work before; I went in the fall of my senior year of high school. That trip, even though it was years ago, is still an experience that I consider to have had a major impact on my life. While some may say that I enjoyed my trip to Mississippi so much because it was the first time I was away from home and on my own, I think the real reason it had such an effect on me was because it was the first time I realized how good it felt to go somewhere new, learn about others, and through learning about them, learn how to help.

While working at a site on my first trip, a group of us found an old wooden chair in a pile of debris in the back yard. In the evenings after we worked on a house for an elderly woman called GiGi, we sanded the chair, painted it, and had everyone from our group put some finishing touches on it. At the end of the week, when GiGi came to see the progress we had made on her home, we unveiled our chair. Everyone was really proud of our creation—it definitely looked good—but what made the moment so special was when GiGi told us that we had restored one of her old dining room chairs and that she was so excited to have it back in her new home. Having lost almost everything, our little chair was more significant than we realized.

I don’t really know what I will encounter in New Orleans; I’m open to anything. Excited to go, I hope to spend the week meeting new people and gaining new experiences. I went on my first trip not knowing what to expect and I was blown away by the amount I learned and the change that seemed to come over me. I’ve gone on multiple mission trips since then, and I am sure this one will be just as meaningful. Melissa
We start our Habitat work here on Tuesday.
Our housing for the week.   L

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Almost There

Ok guys, so I haven't been to New Orleans ever in my life so this is going to be an exciting new adventure for myself as well. When I used to think about going on these different mission trips, I often envisioned myself solving all of the problems in a weeks time. I know this sounds crazy now, but I really thought that I had all the answers for whatever problem the various people were facing. But then I realized on my first CCME trip last year to FL that I do not and should not have all the answers; I realized that it was the effort of the entire group, in solidarity with ourselves as well as the people we were working with, that made the most memorable impact. If we only connect with a few people while in New Orleans I'm sure that those few people will spread the word to others. Cory

Yarrow by Andrea Gibson

The other day I was reading through this poem book I have and I came across this one that's one of my favorites. The author is talking about New Orleans so I thought I'd share it with you all!  Krista

We packed our lives into the back of your truck
and drove two thousand miles back to the only home you’d ever known.
On the bayou you ate crawfish.
I wished I had never become a vegetarian.
Here, whatever you came carrying fell to the ground like Creole swamp rain.
Uptown you could watch the jazz notes float from porch swings to sidewalks of little girls playing jump rope and hopscotch,
to old women skipping rocks across the gulf of the Mississippi like heartbeats they forgot they had, while mid-city trombones wrote love poems in lonely men’s ears.
For a year we were gardeners.
“No, Andrea, yarrow doesn’t grow here,
imagine a womb full of water,
plant like you would plant a daughter,
name her Iris, Rose, Magnolia, and Gardenia.”
You could hold the soil between your fingers and smell gumbo and harmonicas.
Could smell po-boys and cathedrals on the same block.
“What do ya mean, you don’t talk to strangers?
Come inside and see a picture of my son, he raises hell, but he’s a good one…”
Iris, Rose, Magnolia, Gardenia,
when I heard of Katrina I thought, “The flowers, save the flowers…”
I never thought for a second we wouldn’t save the people


The NOLA 2012 Team is excited as we get ready to head to New Orleans on Saturday.  We've started to blog in anticipation of the trip and intend to keep you posted as we encounter each new experience. L

The Team
Cory, Linda, Lauren G, Melissa, Juliet, Morgan, David, Nien, Lauren P, Neil, Jim, Krista and Katie. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hurricane Katrina Relief Experience:

SIX years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the devastation is still apparent.  As if one disaster was not enough, in 2010 the BP Gulf Oil Spill hit the area as well, causing further environmental distress on an area that was in the midst of rebuilding.  However, despite the many challenges New Orleans is facing, the spirit of the people has not left. Join our students as they work with Habitat for Humanity and other community based organization to assist in the rebuilding effort of New Orleans.  Along the way, students will be indulging in the cuisine, music, people, and culture of the area that has weathered the tremendous storm and environmental atrocities.

Educational Resources:
St. Bernard Parish Website:
Habitat for Humanity:
Beacon of Hope Resource Center:
Community Center of St. Bernard Parish:

*This blog is sponsored by Spiritan Campus Ministry at Duquesne University. For more information on our mission please visit