This trip is a lot of firsts for me. It is my first service-learning trip. It is my first time to truly be in the south. It's my first time in Louisiana and New Orleans and today was my first time in the Lower 9th.
After a day of working in a fairly nice house and laying down wood floors for the dining room driving into the Lower 9th I really did not know what to expect. Of course I've heard countless stories on the news, in movies, from residents of New Orleans and some from my fellow students at Hamline. None of it prepared me. I was nervous as I stepped out of the van as we looked at the plot of land where the house of the grandmother of one of my good friends once lived. I was worried about how I would feel. I didn't know if I should be expecting sadness or anger or who knows what.
Wandering through the empty streets and staren at these broken houses, broken memories, I felt as though a chunk of my soul was being wretched out of my chest. I am so disappointed. The sadness and anger well up into one and I feel defeated though I know that I've lost nothing. I'm disappointed in the response from the government (I don't care if it's the city, state or federal), I'm disappointed in all of those who have moved on and forgotten, I'm disappointed that what happened has not been corrected for. I don't understand how anyone can lack the humanity to at least lend a helping hand, to get someone else started in the right direction again. Is it so hard to care?
I know that it is important to move on from hard times but when so little has been done for some I don't see how they can. This being said it was not all bad. Being in the Lower 9th gave me new perspective not just on New Orleans but on many things. The frustration that I felt as we walked the streets can be channeled into something positive. And while I know that everyone in my group was moved in very different ways the fact that we were moved at all gives me back the hope that I lost as we walked those streets.