Today, was the first day in which the ASB Gulf Coast team got to see the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina first hand. It has been a long weekend as we had some trouble with our flight yesterday (it was delayed, then canceled, and finally rebooked), but our group kept their morale up and we eventually made it to our destination. Today, we went to New Orleans and ate at the Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. On the way up, we saw some of the homes in the 9th ward, but nothing could prepare us for the closer look we received later in the day. However, the French Quarter is beautiful and Jackson Square is perhaps the best part about it. Next, we went to Slidell, LA for an Airboat Swamp Boat tour so that we could get a gulf coast cultural experience. It was AMAZING! (I’m sure many of my team mates will blog about this later, but I’ll preface it by saying that the tour guide was especially thankful to us volunteers). Finally, we checked out the 9th ward and the devastation was heartbreaking. It is still very clear that Hurricane Katrina wreaked so much havoc. There were porches that stood alone and all that was left of many of the homes were the foundations. Often, people would place a trailer home in front of their destroyed home so that they could still live on the lot. They were especially loyal to their home. Truth be told, it’s late… approaching 12am. We’ve had a long day and so I’m going to head to bed to prepare for the first day of construction tomorrow. Thanks for reading!


  1. Aishah Shelton says:

    Sheda, I enjoyed reading your blog. I know that what you and your team mates are doing is very important. I hope others understand that it will probably take a while for Katrina to be rebuilt. For it to be bigger and better is not impossible but perseverance will be the key. I hope people of all places will be touched by the experiences your team is having. Hope this is an eye opener to what a great life we have and we can be appreciative for it.

    1. sheltonr says:

      Thanks mom! You’re great.

  2. DrBpnnie says:

    We also ate at the Acme Oyster House. The thing I remember most was the blues singer outside the cafe in the French Quarter. He was old and full of soul. I found it hard to make sense of the rich culture on one street and the devastation a few blocks away. Be mindful of it all. When you get to experience the culture be in the moment and feel it. When you are building with the neighbors, be there with their hope. When you drive or walk in the devastation, be with that too. The Gulf Coast is all of this. It has a rich history. Last night on the radio I heard a story about the music that Africans brought with them when they were captured and enslaved. It was only in Congo Square in New Orleans that they could actually practice their music, their drumming. The Delta evolved into an amazing birthplace of blues and jazz. Katrina was devastating to this rich history and sense of place. Experience everything to the fullest. My thoughts will be with you all this week as I follow your reflections in this blog.

    1. sheltonr says:

      We will most certainly keep in your mind your encouraging words. You’re right about the rich sense of culture the Gulf Coast has. It’s very clear from the unique food they eat to the very thing that brought us down here in the first place–Hurricane Katrina. It certainly is an experience I won’t forget… and the week has just begun. Thanks for reading!

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