I've been home from New Orleans nearly a week now and I'm ready to report on it. This Sunday in church we are bringing our New Orleans stories to the people and I will be among those presenting. This is what I have reflected on this week and will be sharing with my congregation, friends, and family...
I returned from New Orleans energized and more centered in myself. Eager to share my stories and let my family know I had returned safely, I called my parents shortly after getting home.
One of the questions my dad asked me was, “Did you see everything you wanted to see?”
Sadly, I had to reply no. I did not make it down to the 9th ward as so many others managed to do. And dad, in his protective fatherly way, responded, “That’s a good place not to go to.”
Well, sorry Dad, but we’re going to have to disagree here. That’s exactly the kind of place I should go to. It’s a place we should ALL go to.
What you see in the photo is not from the 9th ward. It is from my walk through the French Quarter early on a Sunday morning. But I feel like it captures the tenacity of the people in New Orleans. In case you cannot tell, the dog has only three legs. Yet he stands in this doorway, quietly greeting all those who pass, seemingly never meeting a stranger.
The homeowner our team worked for was much the same. Theresa and her sister Louise came by three times that week to answer questions, tell us about the house, and yes, give us their life stories. We learned that several generations had grown up in that house, that Katrina had ripped the roof off and rain had ruined nearly everything. But despite the ruin and displacement, Theresa was hopeful and thankful for her blessings.
Today we are considering the question, “Can anything good come out of New Orleans?” While some may think this city is overrun with crime, and others see nothing more than wild parties, good food, and good music, I can tell you there’s a whole lot more that comes out of New Orleans and it is indeed good. Theresa and her sister were not the only ones to come by the house that week. Neighbors opened their doors with a smile. Some came by to see our progress and thank us for our efforts. They were all kind and grateful for our generosity. After hearing stories from the other work teams, I believe that many of the people of New Orleans feel the same way, and it is indeed a place we should go.( More of New Orleans behind the cut )