Erin Myers, a staff-writer at the Herald-Democrat, of North Texas, accompanied a group of 70 volunteers from Austin College on a mission trip to Southeast Louisiana. Erin chronicled her journey in a series of articles that appeared in her newspaper. Their trip culminated in work with NOAHH.
Here are some excerpts:
Reading accounts and seeing pictures of the devastation cannot even begin to give one the sense of what things are like here. You can sense the pain everywhere you turn. But the people of Louisiana have a strong spirit.
We took a tour of New Orleans Monday afternoon, and the amount and severity of destruction was overwhelming. I felt like a spectator from the comfort of our warm vans on a caravan through the streets of what was left of a once-beautiful city.
Media reported the destruction of the lower Ninth Ward, an area largely inhabited by the most impoverished of New Orleans residents, but no amount of pictures or video could ever capture what honestly happened here.
Entire houses were reduced to a pile of rubble, and the houses that didn't collapsed floated into one another and lay hodge-podge in the middle of the street.
After a week of gutting houses, our troop of 70 finally got the opportunity to rebuild. We worked with Habitat for Humanity in a part of New Orleans that received some flood damage, but not as extensive as the Lower Ninth Ward or St. Barnard Parish.
Everywhere you turn in New Orleans, you see signs urging regrowth and rebirth, and it was something special to be able to contribute to that rejuvenation.
Habitat for Humanity is working all over the city to construct homes to fill the ever-growing need for habitable living space. A second group of volunteers with our group worked most of the afternoon, clearing trash from a six-acre site that Habitat for Humanity purchased to build more than 50 homes within the coming months. Some of the homes will honor requests made before the storm, while others will replace homes lost in the flooding.
New Orleans appears to be on its way back. The French Quarter is alive and well, and Bourbon Street (made famous by Mardi Gras) shows very little sign of what transpired four months ago.
Thank you, Erin!