New Orleans: an eye opener - My Family Travels

Hurricane Katrina of 2005 was the third deadliest hurricane in the history of the United States. The total of 1,836 people lost their lives from the hurricane and the flooding. Living in Florida , I have witnessed the hurricane chaos. Never where I live, have I seen a hurricane cause severe damage. When Hurricane Katrina hit, I felt helpless, because I understood what was going on when I saw the people of the town boarding up their houses or buying extra supplies in case of an emergency. All of this was broadcast through television an photographs. The summer of my junior year, I decided to do something about it. In summer 2008, I joined a program called “Missionlab” and helped in New Orleans.

            When I was in New Orleans , I ended up working with an organization called The Village. This organization had very little supplies and money but figured out ways to work around whatever job was needed to be done. From building fences to handing out goods, this organization was very helpful. It was located in the lower 9th ward. The lower 9th ward is the area in New Orleans that was most affected by Hurricane Katrina. This is where the levee broke and wiped out many homes. The group I was with decided to tour the area. We drove by dozens of half broken houses with X’s and dates on them. There was a number on top of the X which represented how many people were found dead in the home, along with the date to represent when they were found. Along many homes were phrases such as “one dog on porch” or “2 cats,” meaning the animals found dead. It’s amazing how even three years after the catastrophe had happened, it looked as if it had happened yesterday.

            After taking a tour of the town, we decided to start working. There is a law in Louisiana stating that a homeowner’s grass cannot be over 18 inches, and for those who break this law are fined every day, until it is cut. So most people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina either immediately came home to clean up their home, or had decided to completely abandon their homes. A group and I were assigned to cut the grass of homes for elder and disabled people. The way the people appreciated it was amazing. Someone would have thought a miracle had just happened by the way the people reacted. When we were finished with that, we still had a little time on our hands. Touring the town more made me realize how much the people appreciated everything. We handed out school supplies for kids and the glow on their faces were unforgettable.

            Before going on my trip I thought I was going to be giving to New Orleans, and putting myself in a position to serve wherever was needed, but that was not in God’s plan at all. New Orleans ended up teaching me about a different philosophy of life. The way people were so appreciative with little things we did is how citizens all over America should be today. We should all be willing to do one simple nice thing for another. People need to start appreciating the little things in life, because these are the things that make one happy.


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