Remember New Orleans 8 29 2005 Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina: 4 Years Ago 8-29-2005 Video Remembrance

Hurricane Katrina: Rain to Renaissance – YouTube Video

I couldn’t let August 29th go by without posting some remembrance for our many friends in New Orleans. Four years ago today Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans. I went down and volunteered with Project417, staying until August ’06 working in relief centers and hosting volunteers helping gut out and repair flood ravaged homes in the Lower 9th. I put the video together from photos we took, news shots, NASA photos and other YouTube videographers. It still needs an ending that shows the spirit of revival and community caring that continues to grow today. Worth watching? You tell me – I will never forget New Orleans.

Re-tweet it @canayjun to let me know you watched. Thx!

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New Hurricane Threats and Funding Shortfall Delay Project417 New Orleans Mission

Mold marks calendar in flooded Gettridge home Aug. 29th, the date Katrina hit.

Mold marks calendar in flooded Gettridge home Aug. 29th, the date Katrina hit.

An update for Andy’s Project417 mission partners – As you might know, in addition to our work with the homeless here in Toronto, Project417 has been providing Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief in New Orleans since 2005. Between the week following Katrina in September, 2005 and November 2006, Project417 Executive Director Joe Elkerton and Andy Coates have been in New Orleans several times, from short two week missions to an extended stay by Andy from April to October of 2006, serving in disaster relief programs and heading up home re-building / recovery teams.

Since that time, several appeals by Project417 for funding of another home renovation mission to re-build houses destroyed by the flooding have fallen on deaf ears. Most people assume that this long after Katrina the city is not in any immediate need of relief. To the contrary – hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed and many have not yet received any U.S. federal or state funding. Less than half the former residents are able to return.  In addition, of the hundreds of millions of dollars donated to some organizations, during Katrina, the majority of those funds left New Orleans when the immediate disaster was over, deposited in general funds until the next emergency, not to be used to help New Orleans as many donors intended.

Project417’s missions to New Orleans are of a small, grassroots nature and simply help local families rebuild their flood ravaged homes. More than 25 Toronto area volunteers have joined Andy and Joe on six separate occasions to help rebuild. One of those we helped, Mr. Herbert Gettridge of the Lower Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish, New Orleans, is the subject of an upcoming public televsion documentary on PBS Frontline, The Old Man and the Storm, by acclaimed producer June Cross (Watch it Jan. 6th, 2009 at 9PM, check local listings) telling the Gettridge family story of survival and recovery assited by volunteers from across North America, including Project417. Another we helped with a team from Heart Lake Baptist Church in Brampton, Mrs. Aline Dastague of Lakeview, is over 90 years old and was living in a retiremnt home while her home sat destroyed by the failure of the Canal Street Levee.

Andy was scheduled to go to New Orleans for the recent Labor Day weekend and take part in the August 29th Katrina Memorial events and visit Mr. Gettridge, to prepare for a planned November short-term mission to re-build more homes. But donations fell far short of the $1500 goal to fund the trip, although several long time supporters sent generous last-minute cheques. And then new hurricanes threatened New Orleans. Hurricane Gustav forced the evacuation of New Orleans and much of Louisiana, news covered here at the Missionlog, and threats from tropical storm Hanna, and Ike, and Josephine, so the trip has been delayed. Although Gustav was downgraded to category two and only glanced by New Orleans, the levees held and residents have received the return home notices, power is out for over a million people and there still was some serious flood damage from the hurricane borne torrential rains.

As soon as power is restored to the area and Project417 donations reach our modest goal, Andy will visit to assess the new damage, update recovery needs and finish preparatory planning for the November mission. Visit Project417 today to see how you can help or join the mission.

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UPDATE – January 5, 2009 – Andy has returned from two disaster relief trips to Galveston County, Texas for Hurricane Ike in San Leon, Texas – helping families rebuild their huricane ravaged homes. Vist Project417 to volunteer for the next trip. Returning from the most recent Texas trip, Andy visited Mr. and Mrs. Gettridge in their New Orleans home and made plans with Mr. Gettridge to set up a trust fund to build two new homes on property in the Lower Ninth ward owned by the Gettridge family.

Paris Hilton and Project417 – Unconfirmed Connections

Do you see Paris Hilton in the photo?

Do you see Paris Hilton in the photo?

Paris Hilton did not announce today her intentions to leave the USA and join the non-profit organization Project417 located in Toronto. The celebrity heiress, oft noted as being famous for being famous, is unlikely to confirm the unfounded rumors, first published on Facebook, that she would leave the media spotlight behind to join Project417 to help the homeless. A spokesperson for Project417, Andy Coates, would neither confirm nor deny the reports, but is quoted as saying, ” Paris Hilton?“. It is uncertain at this time as to the impact this may or may not have on the U.S. Presidential race, global warming, or the price of a barrel of crude oil.

The reports may be linked to the upcoming visit by Andy Coates of Project417 to New Orleans. Andy is visiting New Orleans at the end of August 2008 to take part in ceremonies commemorating Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the U.S. gulf coast on August 29th, 2005. Andy as part of a Project417 team volunteered for New Orleans relief and disaster recovery efforts from April to October of 2006 and worked on re-building projects in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Lakeview and Gretna. Andy headed up several volunteer teams from the Salvation Army Louisiana Recovery Command and Americorps as well as teams from Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton.

The re-building projects consisted primarily of helping the extended family of Mr. Herbert Gettridge renovate three homes in the almost totally destroyed Lower 9th Ward of Orleans Parish. He also lead teams working on renovating the home of Mr. Lionel Worthy in the Lower 9th (situated directly across the street from the Katrina Memorial erected in 2006), as well as a house in Lakeview adjacent to the breached 17th Street Canal owned by the elderly Mrs. Aline Dastague.

During the upcoming visit, in addition to taking part in the city’s memorial events, Andy will visit with the people he and the other volunteers helped to see the changes two more years have brought to the still recovering communities. Andy has learned that there is still work needed at a home owned Mr. Gettridge. The property has historical heritage site status as the former home of Sister Gertrude, a local artist and musician, and still needs to be placed back on its foundations. In addition, he will visit with the local New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity worksites and communicate with the Fuller Center for Housing (Millard Fuller is the founder of Habitat). The end purpose of the visit is to decide upon a worksite for a Project417 volunteer team who will head down to New Orleans later this fall (November).

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Ok, so this had nothing to do with Paris Hilton, but at least you read the note. You can help by making a donation today to Project417. Visit the Project417 Page here on Facebook or go to http://www.project417.com

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