The Interact clubs of Royal Oak High School, Farmington, and Southfield-Lathrup started their work in earnest today, dividing themselves amongst four worksites in Plaquemines Parish, the region hardest hit by Hurricane Isaac.
As we traveled down LA39, there were scarcely any homes still occupied; most will not be saved. We hear stories of politics, corruption, insurance scandals, and difficult decisions from the families here.
Even so, we work for the families who live here and who will continue to. We demonstrated to one homeowner how keeping her home would not be possible today, ending five months of her struggling with salvage and helping her move on to new possibilities.
It's hard to look at the mold which grows into the structural timber of a home and ruins it forever. Our students approach their tasks with great energy. But they also demolish, save, and restore with great respect for the people who live here.
Here is one story:
- - -
Today I had the pleasure of helping a lady in need. Although this lady was affected by both Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Katrina, she was mostly affected by Hurricane Katrina.
When our bus pulled up to the worksite, my first expression was disbelief. The place was trashed with debris spread across the weed-filled and insect infested site. It was one of those moments when you say to yourself, “Wow! I would hate to be those people that have to clean that up!” We were those people.
There were two random trailers that floated and ended up on this lady’s plot; one contained several toilets, insulation, and was covered in sediment; the other trailer also had several toilets, but this one had cockroaches that would crawl out of the insulation as one would rip it off the walls.
Around the trailers were a lot of wood from the trees, bed frames, and a deer blind. I would pick up a piece of wood only to find a plethora of bugs, including spiders which complicated things considering I have a little bit of arachnophobia. In addition to the wood, there were also random objects scattered everywhere, such as a barrel of hydrochloric acid.
Anyway, although today it was very sunny and rough, I know that my efforts weren’t in vain because the homeowner was extremely grateful.
--Austin Carter, ROHS Class of 2014