Kay and I spent a week in New Orleans working with Urban Impact Ministries as part of a work team from our congregation at Cornerstone EFC in Prescott. We arrived in New Orleans on Friday, Feb 2, and visited some of the areas most heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. There is really no way to communicate just how devastated the area was and still is. Images just don’t portray it. We visited places where entire neighborhoods were under 8-10 feet of water. Many of these homes a businesses are still sitting empty. This webpage is neither religious or political. Just a report as we saw it. The content is gathered from excerpts from email reports we sent back to our folks at home. Introduction Hi ya all, We arrived in New Orleans in the rain and it has been cold and windy since. We have been walking when possible because driving is a difficult situation. Walking is hard for me(Kay) so Stan has to put up with stop and go. Stan has had Jambalaya, catfish, squid, calamari and shrimp.Ugh! We have been offered turtle and alligator. And of course we have had Beignets. Yesterday we took the Katrina bus tour. The French Quarter was untouched, We then went through some areas where the water had been at a one foot level. You could see the water lines on buildings, as we continued, from one foot to 10 feet. Many houses have been gutted and most were looted. Businesses were all looted as well. Most of the homes are empty as people cannot afford to rebuild. It appears that very little has been done. We have yet to go to the area where we will be working next week. We will meet with the rest of our team tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be warmer next week. We'll write more next week when we get working. Love from New Orleans, Stan and Kay Day 1 Well, Work day one is over with great success. One part of the team finished roofing a house. Other members were busy scraping paint on the exterior of the new home for Urban Impact staff. The home had 6 feet of water on the first floor causing damage to plaster, floors, appliances, doors and windows. Windows and most doors have been replaced. I worked with drywall all day with 3 others and completely finished one room and started on another. More rooms tomorrow. Kay worked in the kitchen at the dorm helping to prepare supper for 40 members of the teams and staff. We eat at 6 and then have a time of fellowship and games. There's also a team here from Pennsylvania. They went to one of the local churches and did cleaning and gutting. Removed pews, carpeting, and ripped into the walls. They continue that job tomorrow. Kay has instructed me to share about our dorm "facilities"... We're staying in a 2 story "Shotgun" home. The lower level has a kitchen where all the food is prepared. Then it's carried about 100 yards to the church when all meals are eaten. The sleeping facilities are dormitory style with bunks stacked 3 high. Kay and I have been fortunate enough to snag lower bunks. There are 9 people per room. Ladies are in 2 rooms on one side of the second floor of the home. Guys on 2 rooms on the other side. There's 21 steps up a winding staircase for each side. The "old knees" really feel the trip both up and down. Work day two started early. Breakfast at 6:30, at the job site at 7:30. Kay returned to our dorm (The Yellow House) to help prepare the evening meal then joined our roving photographer, Lynne, to visit the jobsites and take images for her photo/video record of what's happening in this city. She's been able to talk with many homeowners and to get their accounts of their experiences since Katrina. All she's interviewed have lost most everything they owned, yet have returned to their damaged home to have them renovated for occupancy again. Some have come to the home we're working on to thank us and share they're stories. They are some remarkable folks. For those who have sent mail to see images of the "master of drywall", here's some images. Cutting of the drywall with able partner, Bill McKee. Covering the studs with drywall. More images of our work here. Kay has been a great help to the staff with her assistance in the kitchen. Here she's working with "Katrina Project" Staff member, Emily. And cutting onions for the meatballs. Supper tonight was meatballs and pasta with garden salad and a great chocolate dessert. All of us on the team have been issued the "Official" I luv N. O. tee shirts. It's kinda like our "uniform of the day". We wear it at all the job sites. Here's the two of us with ours.... And our pastor's wife, Debbie with her shirt and dust mask as she's been sanding layer upon layer of paint of doors, siding and porch railings. Our sister team is from Pennsylvania and they have been working gutting a church and a residence. 2 members of our team have joined them for work today and tomorrow. We'll be continuing our drywall installation tomorrow and then Friday we finish the week with ministry to the community with general clean up in the neighborhoods. A "Hot Dog" wagon joins us about noon to feed us and many of the folks in the community. You can't imagine the devastation that is still here. The spirit of poverty is so dominate. People need help desperately. We've really been able to minister to them in very practical ways as well as bringing the message of the hope of Jesus. Thanks for your continued prayer and thoughts. Day 4 and 5 What a week we've had. There is really no way to completely share our experiences during our time in New Orleans. We learned early Thursday morning that one of the young man very actively involved the youth ministry at Castle Rock Church was shot and killed. Pastor John ministered to his brother late into the evening to calm the overwhelming urge to "retaliate" with further violence. The brother is part of the youth ministry as well. After our last day of construction on Thursday, Friday was a time of neighborhood cleanup around Castle Rock Church. There was a time of worship and prayer before we started our day as we were lead in worship by Trey on the keyboard and Pastor John on the Sax. It's really something to worship to Gospel Jazz on a sax. What a great time. Prior to "letting us loose" on the streets, we paused for a group photograph just to prove that we were there.... The Prescott Group (That's downtown New Orleans in the background. Castle Rock is about 1/2 mile from downtown) We found a huge pile of trash that was just dumped on the sidewalk in front of a vacant lot. The group picked up more than 20 huge contractor trash bags full of junk and placed them on the curb for pickup. Contents of the trash included a number of used hypodermic needles. We used a great deal of caution as the trash was placed in the bags. The rest of the trash to be picked up. (Take note of the church in the upper right background. I'll explain that at the end of this email) At noon, "The Hot Dog" truck comes around blaring gospel rap from loud speakers and to feed the team members. Many, many of the neighbors gather around to see what's going on. The pastor of Castle Rock is there witnessing to the neighbors and anyone who wants a hot dog is more than welcome. Many folks had "more than one." I mentioned the church in the background of one of the images. When Katrina blew through New Orleans on August 29, 2005, many strange, awesome things happened. This image shows what Category 2 Hurricane winds did to the cross. Our time in New Orleans ended but the work needed to be done will never end.