Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hurricane Katrina: How Housebloggers Matter

Six months ago, I had the responsibility of leading a group of college students in relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. We went to Biloxi, Mississippi six months after the storm hit, prepared to do whatever was asked of us assisting residents in the clean-up. The seven days we were there were some of the most intense, emotional, hopeful, heart-breaking days I've ever experienced.
Seeing first-hand the destruction of homes and devastation of lives was nothing I could have been prepared for.
As a nation, we paid eager attention to the area for several weeks- slight attention for several months... and then we lost interest. Two weeks ago, the one-year anniversary of the storm passed with barely a nod in the direction of the south, while hundreds of thousands of people's lives are still in chaos and may never quite reach "normal" again.
It seems that folks have a lot of "know-how" in terms of renovating, restoring, and re-building, so I thought I would call attention to the Relief Trip Link I've added to my page. I've also linked to short video clips of the past year's progress and the homeowners talking about the work that needs to be done. If you want to get a picture of what we experienced, I suggest downloading the "Long Slideshow".

We are all crazy busy with our own lives and our own houses, but folks in the Gulf Coast will be re-building for years. Individual homeowners and families like you and I are going at their rebuilding alone, many without any knowledge of basic home improvement, and the assistance they get from volunteers is priceless. Volunteers who know how to do simple things- like drywall or hang doors or frame closets or lay floor tile- are especially needed.
Consider spending some time assisting. There are many avenues out there to participate, including Hands On! Gulf Coast and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. These are both great organizations that I personally had experience with while in the Gulf. If you are thinking about putting together a trip (or if several houseblogging folks want to put together a group to go together?!) I'd love to talk more about it.
Ok, off the soap-box... (*for now*! :)
Thanks for reading.


Jeanne Marie said...

Personally, I think that would be awesome. (Maybe we could even get some tool companies and such to help sponsor?) We have two Katrina-affected housebloggers in the community I know about...I believe LipStickFace is a Katrina refugee and After the Storm is trying to return/rebuild in NOLA.

Nadja and Sean said...

I would love to work on something with folks that are interested... I am not sure too many folks read my blog yet (I'm a new-comer)... but if you wanted to put it out there to see if there is interest, I would be willing to spearhead the planning. An ideal time to go would be in the spring of '07- that would give people time to plan schedules, and it would give us time to plan a trip.