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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 7
New Orleans


Henry Swanson  
Day 6

I drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was gone...

We slept like rocks, due to exhaustion. The alarm clock woke us at 5:30AM. We quickly showered, dressed, grabbed cups of coffee and two of Angela's magic, special, secret sweet rolls, then took Carollton to Orleans to Claiborn to Bartholomew to Roman and the HFH site by 7:15.
This day started out hot and humid and just got more of both as the day went on. At one point it rained, which might sound great, but all the rain did was make the morning's paint run, so we had to re-paint. A full day of painting and caulking while standing on tall extension ladders. Mid-day Carol's already-sore Achilles tendon really started to flare up so she had to ice it but like the Energizer Bunny she kept on going and going and going... She was an inspiration to a lot of people, including me. Henry Swanson, across the street, kept asking me how her ankle was. She just would not stop and give it a rest.
Henry Swanson
At lunchtime we visited with a terrific, hard-working young couple, Ali and Brad, who drove down from Charlotte, North Carolina to do volunteer work with HFH.
Ali, Brad and David
I do believe that Ali was the hardest-working person I saw the whole time I worked at the site. She never stopped caulking. Brad had to go offsite to another site to do some roofing work, and I have a hunch he worked like Ali, who kicked butt all day long. At one point late in the afternoon, I looked around the site and the only activity I could see was being done by Ali, Carol, Adam (our HFH team leader) and me. It seemed like a lot of folks had retired for the day after lunch.
Ali, the Queen of Caulk,  never stopped working
Adam Moreland, our Team Leader
Mid-afternoon Chuck came by and showed me photos of himself as a young man playing bass with Lionel Hampton. He mesmerized me with more stories about life in The Big Easy pre- and post-Katrina as I stood on a ladder painting. He kept saying "I don't want to hold you up, but I just know you'd like to hear this one..." He is quite a charming, endearing character, and quite a few of us took him into our hearts this week.
Chuck Badie and David
By 3:00 we were soaked through with sweat, covered with paint and caulk, "Outer Limits dirty" and totally exhausted. I had already worn out the work gloves I had brought with me, so on the way home we stopped at a Home Depot for another pair. Carol, being an artist, also bought some paint brushes, since the ones supplied by HFF didn't quite fit her sense of perfection. We left the brushes for HFH when we had to leave for home.
We arrived back at the B&B around 3:45PM, took much needed showers, and Carol did loads of laundry (thank you Angela!!!. This woman is definitely named appropriately...) Then we rested. I felt like I could not get enough water into my body fast enough. We took our own water bottles each day and re-filled them from the orange water jugs that were usually spread around the site but for some reason, I could not locate any of the water jugs in the afternoon.
Also today, I reconnected with a long-lost friend from at least forty years ago - Dean Bramson, from my hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was great to hear his voice and we are looking forward to seeing each other again on Friday evening.
After resting, we went downstairs and visited with Michael and Angela. We wanted to spend an evening with them but Angela had to stay at the B&B to accommodate incoming guests, and Michael had to pilot a vessel across the Mississippi.
So out Carol and I went in search of Dick and Jenny's, a restaurant recommended by Angela and a favorite of NOLA locals. We were not disappointed. The Cajun dishes we ordered were delicious and were perfectly accompanied by a cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Dick and Jenny's
We then drove home to the B&B, stopping along the way for food and water for tomorrow's work at Musician's Village. Back at the B&B by 8:30 for another sound night's sleep. All in all, a most rewarding day.

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