Hope on Hope Street

Not far from Beecher Church we arrived bright and early this Monday morning to begin work on an almost finished house here in New Orleans on Hope St.  We were greeted by a feral chicken (yes, you read that right!) at the house site in a residental neighborhood.  The chicken works for peanuts–no kidding!  It LOVES peanuts and will eat them from your hand.   It also has taken up residence UNDER the house we are working on…

We are very happy with YRNO, the agency with which we are working this year.  They had plenty of supplies, tools, and guidance for us.  We’ve learned more of their story and it’s a pretty dramatic one.  Two out of three site managers are former teachers and the other site manager is a former student of one of them.  Mike will not be working with us tomorrow because he will be in class.  He was inspired by his work with YRNO to go to school to get a degree in construction management!

The house we are finishing will be sold to a teacher in NOLA.  The idea behind this is to help stabilize the community.  The youth work on houses in the community that are then lived in by people who may be their own teachers.  In addition to learning skills that may be potential career choices for them, they are also learning how to work together.  In a city with many racial tensions there are lessons that are learned along the way about getting along with one another and working together toward a common goal as well.  It’s a win/win on so many different levels.

We worked hard today on such things as interior and exterior painting, reframing an outside door, working on a bathroom, and so much more.  By the time we left the house late this afternoon we could already see progress from what it had looked like early this morning.

Along the way, we made new friends including Sherri, a banker from San Francisco, who is here for her 7th trip to help rebuild.  She confided to me that she keeps coming back, “Because it’s addictive!”  We’re also getting to know Prince and Turk and Mary and Willie and Mike from YRNO, all of whom have their own NOLA stories to tell.

And yes.  We have discovered hope here in an impoverished neighborhood on a street that is aptly named!

Posted in New Orleans Mission Blog 2012.