Obviously I am having the best time of my life. I’ve seen Bourbon Street, the Ninth ward, experienced Southern Hospitality to the max, experienced civil rights in Alabama, worked alongside inmates while sandbagging for floods, walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, rode in a military tank Hummer, enjoyed the refreshing taste of a Hurricane after a hard day of home building, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried and I have made some glorious friends who will never be forgotten. This week has been an emotional roller coaster and I wish with all my heart that everyone would get this experience. I’ve learned so much about the devastation of a hurricane and how terrible the aftermath can be especially in a poor neighborhood. The people in the Ninth Ward have not received a good grocery store, with fresh produce since the hurricane hit. This is unacceptable since most of these people live without a car and thus can not afford to get to fresh produce meaning they are surviving on canned and preservative filled food.

During my time here our group handed out fliers within the Ninth Ward which advertised the first grocery store in the area since Katrina. This will be a  cheap grocery-co-op close to home. Needless to say they were ecstatic. Although this district has a bad reputation as being dangerous and terrifying, I have never felt more welcomed than I did those few days. Every person  we passed said “How y’all doing’ and wanted to start a conversation. During those two days I met the nicest most interesting people and it broke my heart to know how rough their lives had been up to this point.  We were invited to at least three crayfish dinners and one man offered to just give us fish and that was before we told them we were bringing them a grocery store. I love the people here!

However, the food situation down here, is a vegetarians nightmare and I’m positive vegetarians are a New Orleaner’s worst nightmare. The food here looks delicious and everyone is raving about how delicious it is but none of it is vegetarian. in fact most dinners here are lacking vegetables in general. One lady I talked to considered fried chicken a healthy alternative. Although in no way am I pushing a life of vegetarianism on anyone, I think that is wild that people here do not understand the importance of  broccoli.

Yet, I can not complain because everyone has been so accommodating and sweet. I have had theeeee best mac and cheese and the most flavourful potato salad down here. I just wish I could try all of the local dishes like gumbo and jambalaya. The place we are staying at has been especially accommodating, they made us veggies a fake version of the classic New Orleans dishes.   The main issue I’ve faced is saying no to food. I don’t want to be disrespectful or make a person not feel appreciated by saying no to something they were so excited to give to me. I’ve twice now just accepted a meaty dish and just tried to eat around it. They were so happy to hear that I liked it I couldn’t bring myself to tell them I don’t eat meat.

Overall I can’t complain.  I’m currently becoming the mudding champion, I think because our group met the Home Owner Mr. Christie and knowing about this 18 grandchildren and the fact that he hasn’t been home in 6 years really motivated our incredible group.

Please read up on Civil Rights, humans have the potential for anything.

I LOVE IT HERE!! I don’t want to come back:(a

-Briar McBoyle

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