Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Can Nagin Just Say Thanks!

I originally wrote this on Aug 7, 2007. As we approach the second anniversary of Katrina, I know there are many things on people's minds. Thoughts about what they lost, about what they still have, family who are gone and those who remain. One thought I think we all should have is appreciation for people around the country who have helped. Many of them are still helping.

I was reading an article in the Staten Island Advance, a local news paper in Staten Island, New York. The article, printed just the other day, Aug 4, 2007, was titled: "Lending Hands, Hearts to New Orleans". This article shows that people from all over the US are still thinking, and still giving to New Orleans.

The Rev. Dave Watson said: "Last month I had the privilege of leading a team of 15 members of our church family, Calvary Chapel, to participate in rebuilding and ministering efforts in New Orleans. Two years after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina the city is still in ruins. Sadly, it looks as if the hurricane was just last week and the work of rebuilding has just started." He continued: "Over and over as we worked in the shadow of the Superdome, I shook my head in disbelief, mumbling, This! In America?"

It's true, too. Too much of New Orleans hasn't even begun rebuilding yet. Too many places are still without power or other services. I know everyone has their favorite person or persons to blame. Some blame the entire government from local to state to federal. Even so, there are many citizens who came to New Orleans and helped for no other reason than they cared about the people in New Orleans.

A group from a church, I don't remember where now, came to my Mom's house, in Metairie, a couple of months after Katrina. My brother-in-law and nephew had helped her gut the house and rip out the sheetrock. These people, whom she didn't know and had never seen before, saw her and asked what they could do to help. She showed them the trees that were down in the backyard, the destroyed fence, the garbage all over the place.

They got to work. The cleaned and cut and hauled. They spent several days. It was just a handful of people and at the end of the first day they had to be tired and disgusted and exhausted. But they came back the next day and worked again. They did that until the job was done.

My mom got to talk about it quite a bit with them and they told her the story of how they had seen on TV how bad it was and just wanted to help. When they were done she thanked them, and asked what she could do for them. They said they were good and were glad to help. They went next door and knocked and asked what they could to help her neighbor.

Stories like that happened all over New Orleans, Metairie, and the gulf coast. People are still doing that and that is just awesome. They do it because they care but it would nice to be thanked for it, I'm sure.

The story in Staten Island isn't over. The article ends with this:

Two years ago New Orleans nearly died. She was in critical condition, on life-support, barely breathing. Today she is still in critical condition but at least she's stable. Our team left New Orleans with an overwhelming burden for its people and a desire to do more to help them.

We are planning another trip to the area sometime in 2008 to do what we can. It's not going to be easy for the Big Easy. She needs all the help she can get.

Rev. Dave Watson is the pastor of Calvary Chapel in Mariners Harbor. He may be reached at

Thanks Rev Dave!

I also happened across a story from Milwaukee, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online. The article is titled, "Teens Joined Hands in Protest, Progress In New Orleans." The story is about a group of teens who just returned from New Orleans where they helped gut a couple of houses.

According to the article:
They formed a three-block-long human chain, "a human levee," to draw attention to a still-inadequate drainage system that, absent construction of a needed levee, consistently causes flooding in the poor neighborhood. Though the French Quarter was thick with tourists and gave the appearance of a mended city, the difference was "night and day" in the neighborhood barely touched by rebuilding efforts where the teens rolled up their sleeves and worked.

Read the article and read about people who still care. One of the youths who participated wrote to the Time Picayune:
As the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches this month, the letter's author said she hoped Mayor Ray Nagin would use some of his face time on the national media to thank volunteers who have come by the thousands to offer their help since the storm.

My mom has said her thanks, I have said mine. Many of the people are very appreciative.

What do say Ray? Can you say "Thanks"?


No comments: