"The Grinch stole our Christmas, but he didn't steal our spirit...Welcome Back New Orleans"
Hi Mom....I'm safe and sound! We arrived after around a 16 hour ride this morning at 10:00. After 2 trips to McDonald's, 4 states, 3 stops, and 16 hours of craziness, we knew we were in New Orleans when we woke up driving across a lake, trees were everywhere, and the roads were beyond bumpy.
After we unloaded and became familiar with the church, which is so much nicer than anyone of us were expecting, we loaded back up on the bus (our worst nightmare after the long ride from last night!) and went touring around the hardest hit areas of New Orleans. I was absolutely amazed at the damage that Hurricane Katrina did. We stopped at Lake Pontchartrain to look at the areas that were breached by the lake. The images that we have been seeing over the past few months finally became real today, and they are very stirring to everyone's emotions. Signs were everywhere encouraging the residents to stay high in spirits. "The Grinch stole our Christmas, but he didn't steal our Spirit," and "Welcome back New Orleans" were among the signs. There were also several state hired workers today on the streets. We all found this surprising, considering we have never seen state workers working on a Sunday before. This showed us that the people are really focused on rebuilding their city, even if it means working on Sunday's.
Four-square games, football throwing, and relaxing took up the rest of our day. We also had our first non-fast food meal tonight!We also had one great birthday party, complete with glow sticks, for Ellis! Tomorrow we will be waking up really early (6:15) and heading off to our first day of working. I think we will all be headed to sleep early tonight!
We are all thankful for the TV that is conveniently in the GIRLS room....Sunday night TV is calling'.