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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 7
New Orleans


Henry Swanson  
Day 9

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

After a good night's rest, we woke, showered, dressed and proceeded to pack for the journey home to Tucson.
I gave my sneakers to Michael to give to one of the crew on his Mississippi river boats.
Had another incredibly tasty Angela-made breakfasts and visited with newly-arrived guests, then walked next door with Ms. Greta as she gave us a tour of her lovely 100+ year-old single shotgun house, which has been slowly undergoing reconstruction since the aftermath of Katrina, nearly fourteen months ago. Emphasis here is on the word SLOWLY. It has been difficult and frustrating for her to find reliable contractors who will come more than once a week, come on time, and/or come at all. Greta is a warm, lively, beautiful woman in her 70s, and it is sad to listen to her tell how she lost everything to the storm except the walls of her house. We are really going to miss her company – she has been living at the B&B since FEMA covers some of that cost, and the B&B is right next door on South Pierce Street.
David, Ms. Greta and Carol
At 10:30AM we took the Canal Street streetcar once more down to the French Quarter for last minute t-shirt/knick-knack shopping. The day is clear and breezy. Snapped photos of the ornate New Orleans Water Meter covers, which are coveted by locals. Stopped at Pere Antoine's at Royal and St. Anne streets for a quick lunch. As we sat at our table by the open window, we began to reflect on the past week, the beautiful people we've met, the work we've done and the stories we've heard. We began to make plans to return to do some more much-needed volunteer work.
Water Meter Cover
One last slow, ambling ride up Canal Street to Carollton in the old wooden streetcar to the B&B. We collected our bags and bid farewell to our incredible concierge, Ms. Angela, who went SO far beyond the call of duty time after time to make our stay comfortable, delicious and interesting. We will be missing those delicious breakfasts, particularly those magic sweet rolls, but mostly what we'll be missing is Angela's gorgeous smiling face and sense of humor.
Saying goodbye and thank you to Angela the Angel
We drove west on I-10 a short distance until we arrived back at New Orleans International Airport where we grabbed one more plate of cornbread, country greens and rice prior to boarding our one-hour flight to Dallas.
I have been busy emailing/calling people to begin to try to create interest in joining us when we return for more volunteer work. This time we want to get involved in the process of gutting houses in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward. Most folks can't afford the $500 to $800 per hour rate, and there is a deadline that if not met, means total razing of the house. Once a house is gutted down to the studs, reconstruction can begin, so we are anxious to get back soon with a team of folks who aren't afraid to get “Outer Limits dirty.” One of my first phone calls was to brothers Chris and Dan, two men who can move mountains.
The hour-long flight to Dallas was smooth and took us along the Mississippi River, out across the vast expanse of Lake Ponchartrain, over the alligator-filled bayou near La Place, and over Plantations Laura and Oak Alley. The Crescent City faded from view but not from our thoughts.
After a short layover in Dallas and some major turbulence once we were back in the air, we landed in Tucson after the two and a half hour flight. We were home. Home. A place so many folks don't have. The word never sounded so good…
Help Rebuild New Orleans!!

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