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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The Old Man and the Storm – Hurricane Katrina documentary – Jan 6th on PBS

Mr. Herbert Gettridge

Mr. Herbert Gettridge

About a true hero of  Hurricane Katrina: Mr. Herbert Gettridge – airing January 6, 2009 and online. Six months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, producer June Cross came across 82-year-old Herbert Gettridge working alone on his home in the lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood devastated when the levees broke in 2005. Over the next two years, Cross documented the Gettridge family’s story. After a long wait, the film  – The Old Man and the Storm – will air on PBS to tell the story of perseverance against all odds, not the least of which is the bungling of recovery efforts by state and federal agencies.

Project417’s Andy Coates came across Mr. Gettridge in the Lower Ninth ward in April of 2006, eight months after the storm hit. Like Cross he found Mr. G, as he became affectionately known, working by himself – the only home-owner for blocks around struggling to clean-up his property and repair his hurricane ravaged home.  I visited him at his home last month returning from our Texas Hurricane Ike relief trip.

I first visited New Orleans in March 2006, eight months after Katrina, to volunteer for two weeks with the Salvation Army. Our director Joe Elkerton had been a first responder in September of ’05 just after the storm. When I saw the devastation of the city and the snail’s pace at which recovery was taking place, I decided to stay for the next six months and organize volunteer teams through Project417 to help with the clean-up. Over the course of that stay, Mr. Herbert Gettridge, Andy and Paul, July 2006almost a hundred volunteers came down to work on projects with me – three of the work sites were properties owned by the Gettridge family in the Lower Ninth Ward of Orleans Parish, New Orleans.  Everyone who met Mr. Herbert Gettridge realized he was no victim  – 82 years old, he was one of the first returning residents of the Lower 9th – and was working single-handed to fix his home. His mission, to rebuild it so his wife, staying with family in Madison, Wisconsin, could rejoin him in the home they had built together more than fifty years ago.  Many faith based volunteer teams pitched in to help Mr. Gettridge re-build – and that story is told in June Cross’ film on PBS . (It was so wonderful to be able to visit with both Mr. and Mrs. Gettridge in their renovated home last month – what he’d been wishing and working for so long).

Almost without exception, everywhere in New Orleans re-building was taking place, hard working church volunteers were making a difference.  Of course there were a multitude of recovery teams, not just faith-based, that came to New Orleans to fill the vacuum left by the total absence of any organized government efforts – including groups like the local Common Ground who adopted the Lower Ninth,  and young hard-working AmeriCorps youth were sweating it out all across the gulf. (Project417 hosted AmeriCorps teams at two Lower Ninth sites).

Be sure to watch the story of a true American hero – The Old Man and the Storm – on PBS January 6th at 9pm (check local listings).  And when you’re done, consider coming with Project417 back to the Gulf and continue the re-building that is still going on. We want to get a fund set up to build new homes on two properties owned by Mr. Gettridge in the Lower Ninth. All across the Lower Ninth are still homes that have not been touched since Katrina 3 1/2 years ago. In Mississippi, from Waveland to Biloxi, re-construction continues – house foundations still lay bare.  Following Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike this fall, Project417 is hosting teams in Galveston County, Texas – the devastation is on the scale of that visited by Katrina.  The people of the Gulf coast need you, their neighbors, to come and help them.

read more at PBS | Share with your Friends  digg story

San Leon Hurricane Ike Survivors Glad to See Disaster Relief Workers

More updates on the mission log here.

UPDATE: Saturday, October 4th, 2008 –

I have been serving the residents of San Leon, Texas now all this week. We visit for several hours twice daily in one of the Salvation Army Mobile canteen trucks to serve fresh hot meals for lunch and dinner. We have averaged about 1,00 meals a day at the San Leon Community Disaster Relief Center at the site of a small Baptist church, along with Houston Food bank, the American Baptist Association and  local volunteers. Total meals served from our command center are over 6,500 a day all from mobile canteen crews like ours. Total for all the Louisiana and Texas disaster incident commands are more than 1.2 Million hot meals since relief efforst began a month ago, first for Gustav, then Ike.

The devastation of San Leon, just up the coast from Galveston, is equal or more severe than what I witnessed in New Orleans after Katrina in the Lower 9th Ward. There are thousands of residents whose homes were completely submerged by the 12 to 20 foot storm surge and battered by Hurricane Ikes category two winds. Even now, electrical power service has not been restored. There is no ice, clean water, local sources of food (the nearest supermarket open is more than 20km). Entire home contents have been lost. Most homes in San Leon were small and simple, many were trailer homes and wood frame houses. Lives have been lost. We pray for them all.for The majority of residents in San Leon are Vietnamese America, and Hispanic. Most don’t have insurance and no FEMA cash support has been received yet.  Many families with young children are sleeping in their cars outside their gutted homes. Some were homeless and living rough before the storm and now are severely at risk having lost even their open air campsites and squats and what few belongings they had.

These photos from Sanleontexas.com (maintained by a colourful local resident) are only a few showing both the destruction and the will to survive and overcome. I’ll be posting many more of mine when I have a more reliable internet connection showing the volunteers and residents working together.

These people really need your help, consider  making a generous donation today. Contact me here by submitting a comment to the post if you have any questions.

Onsite with Hurricane Ike – Emergency Disaster Services Houston – Project417

Update:Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief

As of 4AM today (Sept. 26th) Andy Coats of Project417 is flying down to Houston as a member of the first Canadian Emergency Disaster Services team of the Salvation Army. There is a team of 10 in total for the first responders, and the assignment will last until October 9th, 2008. At that time the second team will come down to relieve us (although I’m prepared to stay longer.

Setting up the EDS Warehouse in Gretna

Setting up the EDS Warehouse in Gretna

My assignment, with colleagues from Canada, is with the Salvation Army EDS in Houston, for distribution of food and emergency supplies to victims, EDS teams and emergency service personnel: hot meals, water, MRE’s, med kits, clean-up kits, personal hygiene items,  snacks, food boxes and other donated items for victims. Other team members will be on mobile canteen duty, crisis intervention counselling (CISM), grief counselling and spiritual support.

During the time there I will also meet with the Houston CSM city leader to assess the damage to their housing site and possible relief services for the next missions. There may be an opportunity to visit Galveston to survey the damage also – and a trip to New Orleans to arrange the November short-term mission details.

I may or may not have access to the internet, but if I do I will continue to post updates and photos or make arrangements for them to be posted on my behalf. Ditto with email, so don’t be concerned if you’re not hearing from me. You can always reach me on my cell phone – visit the Project417.com site for details.

If you need to contact me, please contact Rev. Joe Elkerton, Executive Director of Project417 email:  elkerton at project417 dot com.

Gutting Houses

Please consider making a donation today to help the Hurricane Ike victims in Texas (Galveston and Houston) and New Orleans, Louisiana – by making a secure online donation with PayPal to Project417 (a registered charity of: Ekklesia Inner City Ministries)

Relief arrives to hurricane-ravaged Haiti

Volunteers with OBI post eyewitness accounts from hurricane slammed Haiti after Ike Gustav …

OBI – Operation Blessings International is one of the organizations Project417 partnered with in New Orleans during Katrina. Our friend Jessica served with them this summer when they visited with Mr. Herbert Gettridge in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. We had helped gut-out and renovate three Katrina destroyed homes for the Gettridge family in 2006. OBI have active disaster-relief programs worldwide and are very busy this year with the hurricane season – Ike, Gustav and Hannah. The read more link will take you to their site where they have postings from volunteers currently in Beaumont, Texas and Port-au-Prince, Haiti for Hurricane Ike relief and in also in China following the recent typhoon.

Don’t forget to support Project417 and help the victims of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

read more | digg story

Breaking News: Haiti Earthquake Relief

Four New Hurricane Ike Updates – Volunteer – Donate

“]Volunteers begin massive Hurricane Ike clean-upSept. 20, 2008 – Four new articles posted on Digg.com today that really illustrate the scope of the disaster relief efforts spawned by recent hurricanes Ike and Gustav across the Gulf Coast region and into the Midwest. Follow the read more links to visit the original news articles for photos and updated relief information. Some of the recent photos posted are mind-boggling – both Ike and Gustav have turned out to be much more destructive than originally reported. Don’t forget to digg the story and improve our search results on Digg.com, a great social networking news aggregator. Scroll down to read the following posts and other recent Hurricane news here at the Mission Log –

  • Hurricane Ike Aftermath – Photos Slideshow

  • Hurricane Ike Victims Toll Rises – FEMA’s Chertoff Criticized

  • Ike Death Toll Rises as Does Victims’ Pain

  • Louisiana: Ike – Gustav Relief Effort Updates & News Releases

And take a moment to consider making a donation to Project417 to help the victims of Ike and Gustav, as well as the ongoing Re-build New Orleans programs which continue today after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Andy Coats is heading down this week to take part in the Ike / Gustav relief operations and finalize plans for the November Home Re-Building team.

Hurricane Ike Aftermath – Photos Slideshow

Dallas /Fort Worth NBC5  – new photos from across the state that show the overwhelming aftermath of Hurricane Ike along with emergency rescue first responders, volunteers and relief efforts.

read more | digg story

Hurricane Ike Victims Toll Rises – FEMA Chertoff Criticized

Hurricane Ike’s death toll in the U.S. climbed past 50 today – search teams pulled out of Galveston having searched the entire island for survivors. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff returned to Texas for a second time to check on recovery efforts amid growing criticism about the FEMA response

read more | digg story

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