April 30, 2012
East New Orleans, Louisiana
I arrived at our work site this morning with very little knowledge of what mould remediation was or what our job would be. This particular house held about 4 feet of water after Hurricane Katrina and the home suffered water damage and mould contamination on the walls. Mould removal involves a meticulous scrubbing of all the wooden beams in the house with a wire brush to activate the mould, followed by our job today, which was to paint all the walls, beams and wood surfaces with a thick, white primer paint.
The walls and beams before we started……
The walls after we finished……
Our group of 6 worked from 10 am to 430 pm, with Carlton and Taylor, who lead
the group. We had music from a small radio and we worked, sweated, drank lots of water and talked and laughed. I found the hours painting to be very meditative and the process of the house transforming from dark wooden beams to clean and white primer paint a very peaceful and reflective experience. Carlton, born in East New Orleans, shared his stories about friends and family members immediately after Katrina and spoke about his commitment to New Orleans. He had been teaching in North Carolina at the time of the hurricane and after his contract ended, decided to return to give back to his city as he ponders his future. I understood how this work would give you space to contemplate and consider your own life and I appreciate the commitment of people like Carlton.