Just before we left for New Orleans one of my students wrote in her journal that she hoped to begin to understand my obsession with the city. I did after all tattoo a fleur de lis in Mardi Gras colours on my arm with the words Do you know what it means/New Orleans. I know that she figured it out pretty quickly, as did most of the students.
It’s a city that you fall in love with almost right away. The people are amazing and love volunteers; in St. Bernard Parish they particularly love Canadians (we were the first in after the storm; faster official rescuers than any Americans!).
This weekend is the St. Bernard Project’s official 4NOLA launch; the same night that we are launching Toronto2NOLA 4NOLA. A 24-hour build and a big concert at the House of Blues are just two items on the agenda.
BestofNewOrleans.com reports that “Two-hundred-twenty-eight renovated houses. Forty more under construction. But the founders of the nonprofit St. Bernard Project have another number in mind: two-thirds. That’s the percentage of residents and businesses still unable to reoccupy their spaces in the decimated parish.”