Sep 29, 2012

Relief Efforts in Port Sulphur, Louisiana

Driving down 23 from New Orleans to Port Sulphur, the first evidence I saw of Hurricane Isaac was the debris clearly left behind by receding waters -- trash, leaning plants and shrubbery and boats dropped in strange places.

I saw one boat sitting crookedly in the highway median and another on the front porch of an old plantation style home, snug between the grand columns and the paint chipped front door. Some boats were upside down and some simply tilted.

Driving down 23......
 there is a levee to my left and to my right, practically within arm's reach. The waters flooded seven feet higher than the eight foot levees, but the levees stood strong in most places, collapsing in just a few areas.  There was a chemical leak in the Parish and I'm not sure how that's going to play out over time.

Most of the homes I saw had tarp patches here and there, most of the downed trees had been cleared and the water had just recently been approved for human consumption, but most people were still using bottled water. Port Sulphur Baptist Church has been meeting needs in the community as well as serving as a distribution center and a base camp for relief workers. Second Harvest has provided food and water for the church to give out every Tuesday. Hundreds of cars line up each week to receive one box of food and two cases of water. The drive-thru service runs efficiently with church and relief volunteers.

We spent most of our time tearing down and hauling off wet sheetrock and insulation and putting tarps on leaky homes.  We tried to do whatever else was needed if possible.  Which included eating spaghetti with alligator meat sauce.

After completing a job, we'd gather with the family or homeowner, pray and leave them a Bible with our signatures and personal messages.  It's such a joy to meet people all over, to be able to help them with physical needs and to be encouraged and inspired by their hope and joy and perseverance.

It's hard work, no doubt.  

But I always receive ten times as much as I give.  The people we meet are always a blessing.  The people I work with are inspirational.

And of course....
We always find time for a little humor....

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