Skip Navigation Links FestAid 2006
FestAid 2006 was a great success! Through the passion and kindness of over 125 volunteers over 250 volunteer opportunities were performed during the days in between the two JazzFest weekends of music. In addition to being able to participate in and experience the healing spirit of music throughout the week, we were able to give a little back to New Orleans and help in its renewal and rebuilding. Below are our stories:

St. Bernard
Arriving at 7 a.m. each day at Camp Hope, which is where most volunteers for the St. Bernard Project were housed in tents on cots, we went through orientation, and then were paired with a wonderful group of volunteers from Michigan called NoDRT (North Oakland Disaster Relief Team). They were a group of men and women with ages ranging from 20s to 50s. Their mission was showing Christ’s compassion through action. They certainly were living up to their mission.

Our team was delivered with two other teams to the neighborhood in which we were working. We finished the final removal of debris and possessions from a house that NoDRT had been working on the previous days. We then walked down the block to a new house. Walking in the first thing I noticed was a canoe in the living room. The water had risen approximately 3 feel above the second floor of this nice middle class home.

The first task was to tape the refrigerator shut, and then our work began. The work consisted of removing the home owners possessions like china cabinets, sofas, kitchen cabinets, chairs, stereo equipment, etc. Once most of the big things were out of the way, the shoveling began. We shoveled mud and the fallen drywall ceiling off the tile floor. Raked out china, silverware, and more stereo equipment. Wheelbarrow brigades formed, constantly making round trips to the curb while those with the shovels kept filling. Food and cookware was thrown out to the curb as well. Boxes of photographs, yearbooks, paperbacks, trophies, guitars, clothes, beds, videogames were ruined and had to be thrown away.

It was hot. Water breaks frequent. The enormity of what had happened in this neighborhood almost overwhelming. Never did I feel sorry for myself. I felt blessed to the one shoveling 6 in. of mud off someone else’s den carpet. Once everything had been taken out of the house, we began to remove the drywall from the walls. Once the wall studs were exposed, the house was complete. This homeowner could being the process of disinfection, cleaning, and rebuilding their lives.

As of last year, 1,244 of the 27,000 flood damaged homes had been cleaned out. As of December 23, 2006, 2.047 homes had been cleaned of debris. Every home that is cleaned saves the owner $5,000 to $7,000. Because St. Bernard Parish was not in a flood plain, many residents did not have flood insurance. As of last year, of the 67,000 residents, only 10,000 had been able to return. There is still much work to do for St. Bernard Parish.

More Stories to follow...