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Journal entry day 1

Posted by , 06 June 2006 · 120 views

We were told to gather at the airport for 7:15am. We all knew that at least one person would be late and we jokingly took bets as to who that would be. Many of us either thought it would be either Ursula or Tenisha. Well the winner of the late prize was Ursula. Not only was she late but when she got there she showed out over what was a supposed miscommunication. She and Tenisha got into it and when people at the desk got on the phone with security, Dr. Wallace advised Ursula to get it together or she would be arrested. I guess she got herself together because she got to the flight on time.

We arrived in New Orleans on the afternoon of May 25th. It was hot. That is not unusual for New Orleans. We filled up a shuttle bus completely with the 11 of us that went that day. Ms. Potts will meet us there after her vacation. It was very hard to be back at home and feel so helpless. My home is so destroyed. Seeing the people and the places that I knew and loved all gone just hurt my heart. Melbaís Ice Cream shop was gone. When we drove past it, I knew exactly where it was supposed to be. The building was still there but it was not Melbaís any more. Every time we saw someplace I knew, the memories came flooding back. I only hope that we have time for me to share with everyone some of the great things about my home.

When we pulled up in front of Common Ground we were all in awe of what we saw. Common Ground was being run out of Saint Mary of the Angels school. Common Ground was in the process of restoring this building with the hopes of returning it back to the church so that the school can be re-opened. We had dinner with Common Ground that night. We found out then that the main staple of food from Common Ground would be rice. We are all staying in one communal room at Common Ground. Joe the security person was in the room when we got there. He was not in the room when we got there but he showed up that evening. We had cots and a few people slept on the floor. We were on the third floor with no air and no elevator. After a few days I know I will be tired of those stairs. After we settled in we went for a short walk around the neighborhood and the stuff we saw was destruction at itís finest. Not that destruction is ever good. We also saw the police trailer park. When Dr. Wallace was there in January the police were fighting all being put in one place as they felt that they would be on call 24/7 if people knew that they were all together. We found the Magnolia Market, a small mom and pop store on the corner just a few blocks from where we were staying. Ursula and Chandra got fried chicken and I got a big bottle of water. Even though they did not know the people there, they got the chicken and would not listen to anyone telling them not to get it.

We had our orientation training at 5:30 and decided to call ourselves Chain Reaction. Francisco did our training and he had been at Common Ground since Sept 11th last year. He shared several memorable events of Louisiana history with us. Like in 1927 they blew up the levees and flooded the lower ninth ward, and again in 1965 they blew them up and flooded the lower ninth ward and St. Bernard. It was said that these events happened because the river had swelled it banks.

For a group that started out with only 3 people, $50.00 and a cell phone Common Ground has become a commune for people that want to help and want to be able to say that they have made a difference. Every job is important from the smallest one to the largest one. We will have safety training in the morning and go out on assignment.

Hopefully I will be able to sleep in the heat on the 3rd floor and not have to run up and down the stairs too many times to go to the bathroom.

May 2020


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