Tuesday, March 28, 2006

On the road again (March 24)

A month to the day from when we headed away from the snow in Sault Ste Marie we left Pascagoula and Mississippi.. When we arrived in Pascagoula, we didn’t know anyone— there were people everywhere and no one seemed to know what was going on. It seemed chaotic What a difference. 3 weeks has made. When we left there were new people everywhere and no one seemed to know what was going on. It seemed chaotic. The difference was that we had quickly learned one of John Dobb’s favorite sayings “ask David” and we knew that it was really organized chaos and that the Central church’s mission of being the “best friend (the community) ever had” was unfolding as it should.. But the major difference was that we had so many new friends, we had the blessing of having helped a little bit in restoring homes and repairing lives.

Before we left Sandy dropped by the BBB to give us heremail address and a nice note thanking me for my help with her network connection. We had just started to get toknow them during our 1 week overlap. They are from California (Yosemite area) and had faced the loss of a son twho was killed at age 21 by a drunk driver. It was a testimony to their faith that they continue to be focused on service and have moved past that without retaining any bitterness or anger.

I called Lloyd Hotchkiss to catch up on a couple of things that were going on at Pinehill and to find out about their week looking after their grandchildren. It was good to have a brief visit with both Lloyd & Barb.

I mentioned that I had helped David Jordan with deliveries on Thursday. David has a little “bejean fizier” (sp?) called Jack who rode around with us and I had befriended him. David came by and gave me this little stuffed dog – I’m called it Jack Jr. – who is now riding in a position of prominence on the dash of the BBB.

David also gave Linda a teddy bear. David is on the go constantly cleaning, cooking, organizing and delivering supplies. He also has a real heart for people and I saw him many time stop in the midst of something to listen to and encourage someone who was having some difficulty.

Finally, we spent some with John Sanders – he showed us a Powerpoint presentation about his Co-mission work supporting education (K-6) and their efforts at helping develop some jobs and means for people to support themselves. It is a very good work – we spent some time in prayer as we said goodbye to John.

After a late lunch at a rest area just before the state line, we entered Lousiana around 2. It was scary for Linda as we entered New Orleans from the east – the causeway /bridge from Slidell across Lake Pochtorain (sp?) takes you out over the water for a long time. On the west bound lane part of the shoulder lane and the permanent guardrails are missing. They have placed concrete barriers (the lane dividers you see in construction zones) along the edges and it also has a couple of sections of” bailey” bridge that seemed quite rickety. At one point she asked “Are you sure we are supposed to be on this bridge?” But we survived.

As you enter New Orleans from the east on I-10 it is like a big ghost town – mile after mile of empty streets, empty parking lots and abandoned (modern) buildings. The situation in Pascagoula had been mind boggling but at least I could “visualize” the size of the problem by comparing it a similar section of Sault Ste .Marie (say everything from boundary road to Korah road was flooded from the river as far as the “hill” or McNabb street. But New Orleans – it just was beyond any thing that I could compare it too. We went off at Carrolton Ave to have a quick look at the some of the streets close by –In the areas we saw they are a way behind Pascagoula in the clean-up. There was still a lot of “mucking out” going on and big piles of debris untouched at the curbs When we got backonI-1o heading west it was like someone had flicked a switch – all of a sudden there were cars and people and business – we got caught in a traffic jam that took us 30 minutes to go 4 miles.

Much of the rest of the afternoon was spent driving on elevated highways over swamps and lakes with a few breaks were there was farmland – cows in the fields --. We had another traffic jam in Baton Rouge but I guess driving through late on Friday afternoon isn’t the smartest timing. We did ”WALMART camping” at Lafayette.. We parked behind a rig from Quebec and beside another one from Ontario. But didn’t have a chance to meet them.

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