Wednesday, January 30, 2008


we've moved a few blocks to from to common ground's digs on deslonde st., right where the barge burst through the levees. it's also where branjolina's make it right group (pink tents below) is situated. spent the day doing some sheetrocking and some gardening. the plan is to get in on some bioremediation work and work some at meg's community garden. the people here are pretty cool--a mixed bag in terms of ages, but a good slice comprises left-leaning 20-somethings. it's a bigger crowd and seems slightly better organized than lowernine, but it's also been around about 2 years longer. there are regular morning meetings and a weekly meeting, a chore chart, and running water and electricity. we're also provided 3 square meals a day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MREs are nutritious because they say so




DIY city planning

our quarters

foxy dresses himself in front of some meals ready to eat

walking through the lower 9th

still rebuilding

branjolina's pink tents

Thursday, January 17, 2008

i've got shingles

we put some shingles on a roof today. not too complicated. of course, i say that now, but who knows how leaky that thing'll be in 2 months. cutting shingles with a razor blade is lame. hammering nails into them is awesome!

jonah took us out to meg's garden in the afternoon. it looks well cared for. beans, rhubarb, broccoli, lettuce, arugula, dill, and a couple other odds and ends were all growing. it was nice to reminisce about the good times hanging with meg, late night theater adventures and diner runs.

and now i have a cold.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

dude, we're finally landing

the heavens opened today, we took this largely as an excuse to sit around. well, that's only partly true. we took some time out to get some serious cleaning done. i wish i had "before" photos. the office/kitchen/lounge area we've been using was a complete shit hole. and now it's a slightly cleaner shit hole. at least it's functional and we've instituted a no-shoes rule, which will hopefully stave off a reversion to its previous state at least until we can get the actual LowerNine HQ up and running. we also started working on some brochures and on the website. so it wasn't completely wasted. we even had a couple of mobile attack units tackle some insulation and drywalling. dinner consisted of a po'boy and a freaking ginormous daiquiri from a drive-through daiquiri establishment. drive. through. daiquiris.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

take it to the streets

two and a half years after katrina and the freaking street signs still haven't been replaced in the lower 9th. i spent some time today with tim working on making new ones.

the grilled chicken MRE is truly awful. it smells kind of like cat food. it isn't so much grilled chicken as modified soy protein with fake smoky flavoring and grill stripes painted on it. the chicken piece is also pentagonal (irregular). it does come with rice pilaf, which is delicious.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the MRE

it's been about 2 days. lodgings are bare, but improving. the house we're staying in has been gutted, but that's about all. currently there's no running water. plumbers were in yesterday and today working on installing the hot water heater and getting pipes put in. we've dropped some wires from neighboring houses for now, but we're waiting on an inspector to approve of the electrical work in the house so we can get it up and running. we also can't put in the insulation and sheet rock until the wiring's approved, so all the walls for now are stud walls, except for a section of what will eventually be a bathroom. there are a couple of port-a-potties out front and one half of a duplex down the road that we have access to for showering, kitchening, and computering. we do have about 3000 military-style meals ready to eat sitting out behind the house. so free food galore.

yesterday a group of like 20 jewish teens from a new york synagogue came by to help. mostly they moved some dirt around while throwing rocks at each other. charming.

foxy, tim, and i dropped by the branjolina site last night to check out the art installation. they've got these pink tents set up all over one section of the lower ninth ward. for every certain amount of money that gets donated to their organization, they put up a new section of these tent-houses that are supposed to represent where real houses will eventually get built. it's a pretty cool idea, though a couple of the people have noted that they're planning on spending way more money on these houses than they need to. i got some photos. i'll post 'em at some point.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

returning to the gulf coast

i'm flying back to new orleans on the 10th, this time with foxy berger and maryland's favorite son, tim g. it'll have been almost two years since my previous stint volunteering with HAWC and bayou liberty relief. this time around i'll be working with and it looks like i'll get to do a little house building and help pack down some of Emergency Communities' camp and kitchen. in '06 i helped build a tipi for the EC camp site. fun and educational!

the plan is to stay for two weeks at minimum. if everything goes well and the work isn't too physically and psychologically taxing, i may stick around until march or so. i'm not entirely sure what kind of availability i'll have in terms of the internet, but hopefully i'll be able to update y'all on what's what and how things are while i'm actually there.