What an incredible week! We spent four days working on four different Habitat houses and had some incredible experiences. We really enjoyed talking to one homeowner about how Katrina affected her and her community. She wasn’t in New Orleans at the time, but it was tough for her to come back and rebuild because she didn’t have much family in the area to help. We repaired damage to her house caused by Hurricane Isaac – she said that because there was storm after storm it felt like she was always taking one step forward and two steps back. It was inspiring to hear that despite all of her personal setbacks she was committed to rebuilding within the community she loves. One additional thing that made our work amazing was that our Habitat leaders Forest, Fern, and Ally were all amazing and incredibly helpful.
We also stopped at the Musicians’ Village in the Upper Ninth Ward – an area of 50 habitat homes. We were able to take a tour of the Elias Marsalis Music Education Centre – the centre aims to provide after school music education for students from 8 – 18. They were experiencing a lot of success and the centre was very inspiring.
It is hard to look at everything we are given in Calgary, such as home repairs, resources for students, and even the basics when we compare it to New Orleans. There are things we take for granted everyday at home that some people in New Orleans do not even have.
As we have spent more time in New Orleans and learned more and more about the community, it has become clear that there are so many interconnected factors that affect how a community can grow. New Orleans has faced challenge after challenge in rebuilding after Katrina, and yet, every person we talked to was proud to be there. It was inspiring to see how despite the fact that there were many flaws with New Orleans the citizens remain committed to being a vibrant, growing city. It has given us all a lot to think about and consider how we live and grow in our home community of Calgary.