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April 27, 2006

New Orleans Katrina Clean Up Day Five

After getting yesterday off, our entire team was eager to get started on a new house.

The weather was much nicer following the storms that rolled through here yesterday. Bright sunshine, 78 degree high, and humidity low enough that I don't think we noticed it at all.

Looking back and evaluating our process and performance for gutting our first house, we had decided that getting just over half-way complete today would be a reasonable goal.

The ultimate goal would be to finish our house by tomorrow, so we could leave two families with completed efforts.

That plan got off to a good start with the house we were assigned. This was definitely in better shape than the first one. Don't get the wrong idea here, it was still in need of complete gutting.

There was water in the home at high level for a long time. But the ceiling hadn't fallen completely and throughout, there was not much carpet, the square footage was less, and there was less muck and pungent odor.

We did get our pungent odors though - the storage room, piled high with "stuff" and there were something like five or six aquariums in this home. Some for fish, others we think for turtles or snakes. Either way, they were filled with river water and sludge and have been percolating just for us...

We hadn't yet had an owner show up while we were working on their home. Today, I noticed a neighbor and spoke to him. He was living with his sister and brother-in-law now. He is from Hopedale, which he described as a fishing community. The houses are all up on large columns. His four bedroom house was completely swept away. His account was that Hopedale is basically gone - compared to the neighborhood we are working in now, that says a lot.

As for the house gutting, as I said, things definitely set up better for us, however, I have to say, our team just did a phenomenal job. We were definitely well rested and more experienced, and we tore right into it. We are quite efficient together and everyone just did so great.

To sum things up in terms of performance - at the end of each shift, the work site leaders come by and evaluate progress in terms of percent completion. Our first house on Monday, we got to 45% - and that was probably being pretty generous.

Today, we doubled that - 90% complete at the end of our shift. Booya! We almost closed this thing out!

So, needless to say we were all very proud of our collective and individual efforts. Tomorrow we should be able to wrap this up quickly and hopefully start another. Rumor was we may be put with another team or two on a much larger house. We will see.

Still having a great time, working hard and definitely making a difference. I think we'd all be willing to stay much longer to do this work, there is so much that needs to be done. I can't say enough about the volunteer efforts here, there is much more to do, and I'm sure the help will be needed for a long, long time.

Still, I think we are all looking forward to coming home.

Posted by gcrgcr at April 27, 2006 4:41 PM


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