Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Orleans Lower 9th Ward Coming Back

The Rev and I were in New Orleans this week for a wedding.  While we were there we visited the 9th Ward.  This is the part of New Orleans that was virtually wiped out by Katrina in 2005.  I've written a lot about the flooding in Cedar Rapids so you know I wanted to see how they were coming along in New Orleans.  After Katrina, the Rev went on two mission trips to the area to help out and actually had scheduled a third trip when Cedar Rapids got hit.  The lessons learned in the south went a long way in making things a little easier in our area so we were very interested in seeing how far New Orleans had come in five years.

I'm glad to say that we saw much to feel good about.  One of the coolest things we learned about is a program called Make It Right.  Brad Pitt has been instrumental in getting this initiative up and running.    It is fascinating the work they are accomplishing and how they are going about it.  Go to their site and check it out.  They can tell their story far better than I can.

Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of work to do but you can see that this area is going to return.  One concern is bringing back the local businesses.  The neighborhood cafes and gas stations.  There are no stores on the corners to buy groceries or get a sandwich.  The residents are coming back but the shops are lagging.  This will be the next step.  Let's pray that the shopkeepers will be able to afford to rebuild as well so that the residents in the lower 9th ward don't have to drive across town just to pick up a bottle of milk.  You need all of that for the community to return.

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