Friday, September 28, 2012

By demand

Oh MY how demanding some people can be.  "More pictures" was the demand on a comment. Well, I wish I had more, to be quite honest.  We were so diligent about working that we didn't really take a whole lotta pics of the work.  Now, the food?  OH YEAH, I can show you those pics. And Brad Pitt houses?  Got those pics too.  And levees?  I can talk about those too.

When we got to the airport the first night, Ben called and told me to drive into Mississippi from NOLA on I-90 which, at one point, means you have Lake Pontchartrain on one side and Lake Catherine on the other and the Gulf of Mexico just beyond Lake Catherine.  This is where we saw most of the damage.  I didn't take pictures of that but suffice to say, there were boats on the side of road, CLEARLY not where they were supposed to be.  Mounds and mounds of leaves, vegetation and other natural debris and then there was the garbage piles...though the garbage piles were mostly inland a little, like in Pearlington.  It reminded me of arriving in Pearlington in April of 2006 and seeing piles trash on the side of the road only to realize that it was there on purpose.  That trash was someones home under repair.  The Army Corp of Engineers would come by and clean it up every-so-often.

Anyway, on the drive into Mississippi on I-90 we drove through this gate thing, which admittedly made me a little nervous.  It was such an imposing gate, I wondered if we were driving past a military base or something and though we saw some vehicles that looked military-like, pretty soon homes appeared again.  Then Jolynn or Laurel or Gail noticed there was a hill off to the right of the road and someone said "oh, maybe it's for the railroad."  We kept driving and didn't think much else of it.

Driving up towards the gate...there is a better picture.  I'll see if I can find it.
Fried Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese anyone?
The next day Ben and I drove into to NOLA to get doors for the house at The Green Project.  We drove back on I-90 and we approached the place where the hill was and Ben then said, "that's the levee."  What?!  That big hill is the levee?  And as we approached the gate looking thing he said, "When the water starts to rise, they close those gates to keep the water out of NOLA.  Now, there were two things going through my head.  One was, "I didn't know were were that close to NOLA." and the second was "I don't like those gates."  There was something menacing about those gates.  Clearly there was a right side and wrong side.  I'm still working through my thoughts about those levees, especially as we talked with Ben and realized the introduction of the big levee and those gates and some levees up the Pearl River, meant that to protect one place from flooding, other places are now beginning to flood because the  There is a cause and effect to our actions, whether we realize it or not...I think I feel a sermon coming on.

So, Ben and I spent an hour or so in The Green Project, bought 6 doors and saved about $200 which made Ben really happy. So happy we went to Rocky and Carlo's for lunch.  Can I just say, best fried chicken ever.  It was so good that when Ben realized, near the end of the week, that he needed to buy another door and we were thinking of what to do for lunch, well, the 5 of us piled in that truck and headed back to NOLA for a door and Rocky and Carlo's!  This time I had the baked macaroni and cheese (and the fried chicken!)  I hope heaven has baked macaroni and cheese as good as Rocky and Carlo's.

It's hard to tell but this one has a metal "waterfall".
The first time Ben and I had been to The Green Project, as we were pulling out of town, he made a comment about wanting to get back to the crew at the house or he would take me to see the "stupid houses" that Brad Pitt built.  The second time Ben and the four of us went to the Green Project, he took a different direction out of the parking lot and I knew right away we were going to see the "stupid houses".  Now, I'm going to just say this...there are people who disagree with Ben's description of the houses.  There are people who will say that it's art.  There are people who like the houses, who think that Brad Pitt and his architects are adding something new to the Lower 9th Ward.  I respect those opinions and the others who are quick to defend the choices made in the design of the homes.  I also respect that people are living in these homes and like them.  I did not like them for the area.  They would fit right in along the beach here in California.
Nope, not in California, though it looks like they should be! 

Yes, this is a house.
I did not like them because of this: for every artsy home there were two empty lots.  Clearly, some money had been spent to build the homes, to create a piece of artistry.  The homes stood out like sore thumbs in a pretty downtrodden neighborhood.  They just didn't fit the area, in my opinion.  Instead of putting the time, money and energy into making these few homes stand out, I couldn't help but wish there had been more time, energy and money put into building more, less artsy homes so more people could return to the neighborhood.  There may be more homes to come, I don't know.  I do know these homes are providing a need and while I appreciate that, I still just don't think they fit...and some of them ------------>
are downright ugly!

Quick...where was this picture taken?  If you said a beach house in California, you lose!

This trip was also the trip of food.  Oh my, the food.  Besides Rocky and Carlo's (where we all came away with souvenir cups that say "Ladies Invited"), there was La Pines, featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, where we had catfish and the best fudge pie ever.  We also went to the Turtle (Turtle Landing that is) for cheeseburgers, shrimp po'boys, onion rings and sweet tea...YUM!  One night we bought steaks and Ben grilled steaks for us...divine!  Of course, the trip would not have been complete without a trip to Yun Long's Chinese Buffet.  I'm getting hungry just typing this out!  OH and Daiquiri's Now! and begniets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde ended the week.  Yep.  Food was not a hardship this time around.
Catfish anyone?  Don't forget to follow it up with Fudge Pie!

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Overall, the week was good and went by way too quickly.  I know there are others in Pearlington who still need help and we may go back again,(I've learned not to rule that out) but I will say for this time around we did what we were supposed to do.  Not only was our presence there to work important but our love, our listening ears, our compassion and friendship was needed as well.  I felt this trip, more than I have the last few, that my job was to be a friend and so that is just what I did.

OH!  I almost forgot.  On one of those back roads was the a NASA center where they built the fuel rods for the space shuttles.  This was out in front.  This is the part of the space shuttle that would fall back to earth.  Wowee!!

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