its been awhile since the last part of the Pearlington adventure, so i hope i've been keeping you on the edge of your seats. The last day that we worked in Pearlington, we were only planning on working a half of a day. It was really interesting to see how much everyone had grown in their skills and as a cohesive unit by the end of the week. Really when we just started gelling together and getting a lot of work done, it almost felt wrong that we had to leave. Anyway, we were blessed with the Brownlees, who offered to serve us authentic gumbo for lunch on our last day. I had never had gumbo before, and i tell you what, it is one of the best things that you could ever eat.
After lunch at the Brownlee's house, we had an exciting evening planned. We were going to shower up at camp and then head into New Orleans for the rest of the day and night to see how the damage affected the big city.
So the first thing that i noticed about New Orleans is that the major commercial areas of the city looked like nothing at all had happened to them. The relief agencies such as FEMA did a good job quickly revitalizing the city-scape...well at least what most of the media would cover to show to America. If you didn't know there was a disaster there and just walked through the city and the french quarter, you would have no indications that it was ever underwater. The residential areas are not the same however.
We went to a man's house (left) in the city that Jim had connections with somehow. He lived in the highest tax bracketted neighborhood (meaning they were the most affluent), and they had not received any help at all yet. There were only two families from his entire neighborhood that were actually staying, including him. It was a really sad story to hear about the tragedy and travesty that is going on down there. the media only shows the commercial areas, so everyone in America, including myself, stopped thinking that there were any problems down there when the media stopped covering what was going on in New
Orleans. But there is a large need for help down there.
We decided to eat dinner in the French Quarter at this place called "The Gumbo Shop", which was given the best restaurant award for New Orleans nearly every year. So for the 2nd time in one day, i had gumbo. This stuff was even better than the gumbo at Brownlees. I remember thinking to myself that one of the things i will miss the most about being down in the deep south is the food. I love creole and cajun food, and it just seems that the food down there has much more flavor than up north.
After dinner we walked up and down Bourbon street and got pictures, the normal tourist things, and then drove back to Pearlington for our last debriefing meeting. We spent a long time, probably about 2 hours discussing all that happened that week, realizing that these were our last few hours in Mississippi, and trying to savor what we could. I remember it being VERY emotional, with a number of people, including myself, breaking down into tears. The trip really meant so much to me in more ways than i ever thought possible. I am really glad i went.
The next morning we woke up at 6:00AM and started the drive back. We didn't stay anywhere halfway, and ended up driving for 19 hours to get back to Westminster. It was a marathon day, but the trip was well worth it. Thanks for reading my series, if you ever want to hear more or see all the pictures, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Group After the Last Day of Work
Thanks for reading all of the posts from my trip diary!