Hurricane Isaac is still much with us. Last Saturday, Travis spent the day in LaPlace with his organization, “Helping Hands.” There has also been terrible damage in Plaquemines Parish that could not be imagined—it has devastated areas that escaped damage during Katrina because this storm stalled and kept pushing water higher and higher. Recovery will take some time.
On Sunday, September 2, after Mass at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Pontchartrain Park, two parishioners, Marigold Hardesty and Victor A. Gordon, came to us for dinner and conversation. Marigold, who uses Mary for short, was born on Avery Island, where the McIlhenny family makes their renowned hot sauce, Victor was originally from Honduras. Both graduated from Xavier University in the 1960’s and were teachers. They shared their perception of race and culture and replied to questions we had.
|Back: Travis, Matt, Br. John, Br. Charles Front: Mary Hardesty, Victor Gordon and John|
Last week we slowly moved back to some normalcy. Cox Cable came back on Tuesday, a week after it had gone down. Folks who ‘bundled’ all their services with Cox paid a steep price—no internet, phone or TV.
After e-mail exchanges with the Archdiocese, Malin Construction was sent in to shore up the front porch and they repaired out front door which for a week could not be closed and locked properly. Randy from Malin did wonders!
Matt Beben and Travis Wain are associated with Americorps, and the orientation for the Notre Dame Americorps Volunteers was held on the first floor of our house, Monday through Thursday. On Monday evening, the Volunteer Community invited the group to remain for a commissioning for the Matt, Travis and John Petrullo, who is volunteering with Café Reconcile.
|Br. Bob [Director, Lay Volunteer Program, Matt Beben, John Petrullo, Travis Wain|
|Br. Charles leading prayer|
|The Brothers pledge support of the volunteers.|
Afterwards they joined us for a pasta dinner that Br. Bob cooked—and they saved room for dessert, too. The Americorps director here, Jessica McKeown is a good friend now and the group seemed right at home. One young lady was from the Bronx, others from here in NOLA, and around the country.
|The Americorps dinner--one view|
|From another perspective--that's Jessica McKeown smiling on the right|
We are still adapting and adjusting. Milk and orange juice go quickly, bananas don’t have time to get over-ripe, and English muffins and Oreo cookies disappear.
Travis Wain can back the van into its slot in our lot in one motion from the street—Br. John is in awe.
The weekend of the 8th, Bob raked up six very large bags of leaves and fallen branches as well as some he had to cut down on our property.
On September 2nd, at Mass at St. Gabriel’s in Pontchartrain Park the three volunteers had to stand up and introduce themselves. This week, Br. John went with Matt, Travis and John to the 10:30 AM Mass at the Ignatius Chapel in Bobet Hall at Loyola University. He assured them there would be no introductions. Wrong. Br. John was recognized, and at the end of Mass someone got up and asked him to introduce the volunteers! He got up, and noting they were all college graduates, had them introduce themselves. During doughnuts and coffee afterwards they got a chance to meet more folks.