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September 16th, 2010

Saturday, 2010

March 21st, 2010

The long trip home.

One the way back north, we gave an assist to White Paws,  aWisconsin-based German Shepherd rescue organization. They needed to have three dogs transported to Wisconsin from Arkansas for fostering, so we gave the pups a lift. That was a tough sell, getting a van full of people to agree to hold a puppy in their laps for the ride back :) You can see the pictures of the dogs on the pictures page, and you can get info about adopting them from the White Paws website.

We hit some weather in Missouri, which delayed our arrive time back home, but we made it with no other difficulties. Look for pictures and more info to be uploaded this week, and thank you again to everyone who helped make the trip a reality.

-Tom

Friday, 2010

March 19th, 2010

This has been a busy and enjoyable week for everyone. The changes at Polly’s house are incredible–it’s going to be a beautiful house, the sort that you wish you got to live in :)

Every outlet is now working at Bishop Ella’s, along with all of the ceiling fixtures…and her circuit diagram is a lot cleaner than the one in my own house ;) The big and small leaks in the plumbing have all been fixed, and we installed the toilet she had purchased for the front bathroom–her bathroom…the back bathroom is Henry’s. (”O’Neal! I’ve got a commode!”) The shower works in the back bathroom as well, and we installed a showerhead to boot. The hot water isn’t on yet, as the water heater (new three months before the storms) has not been replaced yet and the gas has not been turned back on. Once that happens, the hot water pipes will have to be checked, and likely much of it replaced.

What I thought would take two, maybe three days turned out to take all week, a result of having to deal with the half-jobs of two previous electricians, neither of which finished their work, both of which did things in ways I would not have, and both of which ran off with a full job’s worth of money. But the work is done, at least until the hot water has to be tackled.

We also dealt early in the week with Tom’s roof–at least we hope so. We found the likely source of two of the three leaks and helped him fix those, but we couldn’t manage to find the exterior source of the third leak. We decided on a shotgun fix of sealing all of the shingling in that area with some clear sealant, and now we’re just waiting for a strong rain storm to tell us if it worked.

Off the work site, a number of us managed to get to Preservation Hall to see their own band play, which was fantastic (they played my own request, “St. James Infirmary”, which made me happy to no end). We also got to hang out with our good friend Skip, and get to a St. Joseph’s Day sendoff from Bishop Ella.

-Tom

Wednesday 2010, St. Pats

March 17th, 2010

Another great day–started cloudy and rainy, ended perfectly.

The drywall at Polly,s continues well. The house is enormous and gorgeous.
Three of the drywallers took the afternoon off to come to Bishop Ella’s as
it was distribution day. They helped Mr. Odie and the staff pack boxes
while the plumbing and electrical work continued. The wiring has been
traced and one more day shouldsee it done.

Peace, more tomorrow.

-Tom

Tuesday 2010

March 17th, 2010

Missed updating yesterday, sorry about that. But things took off into full
swing.

Most of us are hanging drywall at Polly’s house. It’s the biggest project
PNOLA has ever taken on, and there are several other groups there wit h
us.

A few of us have been tackling several issue’s at Bishop Ella’s food
pantry, including cracked pipes and a few rooms still without power. Most
of the plumbing is done by now, and one of three powerless rooms now has
power, with a second added tomorrow

We also got to meet Thomas today–he’s a local gamer with leaks in his
roof. It’s up in the air whether our possiblee fixes are right…BUT,
it’s raining here tonight, so that will help with diagnosis tomorrow.

Off to bed, more tomorrow.

-Tom

Sunday, 2010

March 15th, 2010

While the drive down was long yesterday, it was certainly worth it. Having the whole day Sunday available to get to know the city and some of the wonderful people we know down here has made for a great start to the week.

Some used the morning to go explore, or to decompress from travel and find breakfast. A number of us took the trusty van across the river to Gretna for church and lunch with Bishops Henry and Ella O’Neal–you may have been following their story on the main website. It was a great time, including homemade gumbo and a lot of fantastic music.

After that, some of us took the roundabout way back to the hostel, swinging past the O’Neal’s house/food pantry and Habitat For Humanity’s ‘Musician’s Village’. Then it was a quick trip through the Quarter, stopping in the middle of the street to buy Girl Scout Cookies (”You’re lucky,” says the little girl, “those are the last of the Thin Mints!”) before home.

I’m told that we’ll be hanging and taping drywall tomorrow–at least, most of us. A few of us will likely try to take care of Bishop Ella’s plumbing and electrical problems.

We are all so appreciative of the support, moral and financial, that we have received from many of you reading this. I’ll try my best to keep you all up to date.

-Tom

memphis

March 13th, 2010

Stopping for dinner at Neely’s in Memphis. GPS freaked out at the Arkansas
line…finds our position, but will only show New Zealand maps.

Luckily, we know the way by now.

New Orleans 2010, Here We Come

March 13th, 2010

It’s March once again, and that means that Gamers For Humanity is heading for New Orleans!

We’ve got a crew of 20 this year, and we’re picking up a few more for a couple of days once we get down to the city. It’s 12:30, and I have to hit the sack to get up in 4 hours :) But everything is ready to go, and we’ve got a lot of work in front of us. House building, Bishop Ella, roof repairs, and more.

Stay tuned!

-Tom

Days 4 and 5

March 20th, 2009

Sorry for the delay posting, we have been incredibly busy.

Wednesday saw us pausing on the con/destruction front and spreading out to work with some food pantries and a soup kitchen. It was a nice break from bashing things and drywalling, and we got to meet some wonderful people. Bishop Ella O’Neil, for example–a wonderful woman who runs a food pantry for an entire neighborhood out of her flooded and gutted (and yet to be restored) house. She lives in her office at the church, and after three years of this, finally got a tub there to wash up four months ago. She cooks on a hot plate. It’s eye-opening to see the woman who is providing for all of these people having to struggle to get by herself. I’ll be telling you all more about Bishop Ella in the upcoming weeks–she needs some help to keep going, financially and spiritually.

Tuesday night was our ride on the St. Charles trolley for dinner at Brigtsens’ restaurant…amazing food.

Thank you all for your support, and we’ll be home soon.

-Tom

NOLA 09, Day 3

March 17th, 2009

So, what happened to Day 2, you say. Good question.

More driving, which somehow seemed like as much driving as Saturday, yet was half as long, and in (for some of us) familiar and excellent scenery. We arrived at the hostel (there will be photos up on the website when we’re back, and hopefully some video footage…this is a nice place), unpacked, did some light van maintenance, picked up two more volunteers from the airport (yay for Mike and Jen!), got groceries, and went to find some grub. Then…sleep.

Today Yesterday we were oriented by Rachel from Pnola–not the same Rachel as last year, but a new Rachel, in the same position–and then we finally set off to get our hands dirty. And dirty we got them.

9 of us went to put up drywall, while two groups of 5 headed to two different houses to start the gutting process…yes, even over three years after the storms, there is still plenty of gutting to be done. And let me tell you, our volunteers put in some serious effort. Serious. We’re ahead of schedule on the two gutting projects, I’m told, and at least keeping pace with the drywall crew. Our new goal is to leave town with Pnola well ahead of schedule.

I’ll post more tomorrow, but for now rest assured that our people got filthy today, ripped out a lot of lath and drywall and insulation, put up a lot of drywall and insulation, and generally worked like they were tireless. Bravo, volunteers.

-Tom