Hi Everyone – Maria here. I work in Meetings & Events at Berklee and this is my first trip to New Orleans. Well, we’re closing out our first full day here in New Orleans. We arrived yesterday afternoon and took a stroll around the French quarter for a few hours while the hotel readied our rooms. Truly, I feel like I’m in another country here in the French Quarter… the narrow streets, brightly colored buildings and balconies adorned with hanging plants are just beautiful and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen. There is so much to look at it was hard to take it all in. After dinner a few of us took in a bit of Bourbon St. There is music blaring from every other bar and for a Monday night it was busy! Truthfully, the scene there is a bit overwhelming, but hey, you just have to check it out if you’re going to come to New Orleans, right?
It’s now Tuesday evening and we have officially survived our first day on the work site. Driving to the site, it was hard stomach the stark contrast between the restored French Quarter and the status of the upper 9th ward. I watched a bit of Spike Lee’s documentary, “When the Levees Broke” before the trip. It was filled with often brutally honest imagery, but seeing this city in person is so very different. There are so many homes and business that are still in ruins. It’s difficult to fathom how much destruction there is even after so many years and it’s sobering to realize how vast the flooding was. This city still needs our help in a big way.
Our house is located on Independence Ave and it’s pretty far along. Today Janelle, Omar, and I worked on cutting andputting up fascia. Before 8am this morning, I had no idea what fascia was, but fascia and I are very will acquainted by this point. It’s a pretty laborious process…. measuring, scoring, bending, cutting many times over. Our first two sheets didn’t exactly fit but the third attempt was a success thanks to some help from our site supervisor Ben. By the end of the day, Team Fascia (as we now call ourselves) had cut and put up about 24ft of fascia. It doesn’t sound like much for a days work, but believe me it was. I have so much more respect for people who do this work for a living. It is detail oriented and physically draining. Did I mention the heat yet? It was easily 90 degrees at 8am this morning and a cool 110 degrees by midday. Even with spf 70 sunscreen and drinking more water than I thought was humanly possible I managed to get too much color and feel a bit dazed by the sun. Despite the heat I couldn’t ask to be down here with a better group of people. Getting to know these folks from all different walks of Berklee life is such a bonus!