It’s another beautiful sunny day in southern Louisiana πŸ™‚ We’ve only had one cool day that threatened to rain, with a “chilly” low of 17 degrees. Today I am returning to The Green Project for a second day, which is an awesome facility that sells salvaged building materials back to the community for dirt cheap. I like the idea of the materials from demolished houses and buildings finding a new life in someone’s rebuilt home πŸ™‚ The people who work there are so friendly and helpful, just like pretty much everyone else we’ve encountered down here, and there seemed to be just as many volunteers as staff members. This service is sorely needed in this community, one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. The volunteer coordinator (whose energy was positively infectious!) explained to us the other day how in the aftermath of the storm the city was dealing with about 35 years worth of waste and debris in the matter of a week, much of it hazardous. And they will be trying to manage it for decades. Places like the Green Project, whose primary goal is to keep everything they can from going into the landfills, were probably inundated after Katrina, and I’m sure that many of the doors, windows, mantels, tiles, etc. I saw were from storm-ruined houses. They are also the only place in the parish that takes old electronics (e-waste), a new phenomenon that they said they were still figuring out how to best manage. What I’ve seen in the past four days is that the disaster that was Katrina has far-reaching consequences over and above the tragic loss of life, security and safety. It caused problems that these people will be dealing with for years, if not the rest of their lives. It is important to consider all the indirect effects, like what to do with moldy building supplies that sat under 15-20 feet of toxic water for a week, or how to care for all the abandoned animals that also lost their homes and caretakers in the storm. The resilient people of New Orleans have been trying to piece their homes and lives back together for the past 6 years, and places like the Green Project are helping them do that, so I’m proud to be a part of it, however small my contribution may be. πŸ™‚

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