This Is Why We Volunteer
Yesterday was a pretty relaxed day of work. We had to clean around the house because there was paint everywhere! We played our part as Cinderella for a day, scrubbing away paint and washing the floors. We really got to know our team leaders, Julia and Steve, yesterday. We swapped funny stories and talked about our favorite movies. Julia and Steve have been so great to us. They never got angry when we messed up or needed a break and really emphasized the "fun" part of volunteering. Needless to say, it was fun! Rock and Bowl!
And as if the day wasn't enough fun already, we spent the night shopping in the French Quarter and bowling/dancing at Rock and Bowl. I've never been to a place that had both. It was perfect! Scott and Mike were awesome at bowling, but the girls definitely had their moments. After bowling, we got on the dance floor and busted some Southern moves. We might have been the youngest people on the dance floor, but it did not show. People were dancing the night away! Linh found the cutest little boy ever and let him dance and bowl with us. He was quite the dancer. And Danielle got to dance with an older fellow named Jimmy. The hospitality and liveliness of New Orleans have made this trip so much fun! I am definitely coming back! Who dat! ~Emily Byron
At 7:30am on Wednesday, we pile into our van and drive a few minutes away. When we get out of our car, and you can already feel the damp heat descending upon New Orleans, with the sun making its way through the clouds. We climb up a steep slope and sit ourselves on a wooden platform that overlooks what appears to be a wasteland; it is the remains of the once healthy and diverse Logger Bayou, a mix between a swamp and marsh. Unfortunately, due to human-made canals built in the eco-unfriendly 1950s, salt water infiltrated the fresh body of water and virtually destroyed the ecosystem and its inhabitants. The water, once filled with trees and marsh grasses, is now marked with only a few small Cypress trees that appear to be dead anyway. Over the years, Logger Bayou has made its own adaptations, along with the help of environmental activists, in order to slowly work toward becoming a productive area once again. Sister Judy and Lindsey, who work for AmeriCorps, share with us the sad history of Logger Bayou. Its fate is uncertain with the present oil spoil, which may create disastrous consequences for Logger Bayou and the surrounding bodies of water in the area, which are already disappearing at a rate of a football field-sized area every 38 minutes. However, with the inhabitants of Louisiana still recovering from the damage Hurricane Katrina, wetlands like Logger Bayou and its preservation are not exactly the first thing on everyone's mind. It quickly became apparent that, while man may cause damage to the environment and themselves with ease, man cannot always find a way to make repairs with the same effortlessness that was used to create it in the first place. We were overcome with a sad realization on that overlook, knowing that, not only are New Orleans citizens struggling daily, but the environment is struggling as well. Neither are receiving the attention and help that they deserve. Hearing the all of the problems that Louisiana is facing is one of the most humbling events I have ever experienced. Sitting there, I felt almost helpless, unsure of what I could do to help and make life a little better for New Orleans' people and animals alike.
Wednesday was a lot of fun. We started out the day by getting up and going to Logger's Bayou. Instead of the healthy, tree rich place it should have been, the bayou was virtually a wasteland with no trees, and dead vegetation. It was a very heart breaking sight to see that place that had once been abundant with life for centuries, look lifeless and empty. The saddest part of all is the fact that the Bayou is like that not because of Hurricane Katrina but because of humans. Bayous are the city's first line of defense against Hurricanes so had Logger Bayou and most of the other Bayou's in New Orleans not been destroyed by humans then the effects of Katrina might not have been as bad. It is upsetting to hear that wetlands in Louisiana are still being destroyed at an alarming rate. The metaphor that was used to describe this destruction was that if the destruction of the Bayou could be compared to the super bowl game between the saints and the colts by half time half the entire football field would be gone.
Tuesday and Mehle
Gettysburg College Class of 2013
Black Student Union Community Service Liason
Campus Box 0247