well, we survived the bitter cold tuesday night, thanks to some heroics from Ross and Matt. the propane ran out at about 1 a.m. and the temperatures were plummeting in the tent. our breath was condensing on the roof of the tent and dripping back down on our heads. at 2:00, Ross and Matt went outside, found a new propane tank, hooked it up, and somehow got the heater running again in the dark. Matt almost lost his eyebrows when it finally roared to life, but we couldn't tease him about it too much given the fact that we owed him big time. (below is a picture of the tent we slept in, with an entrance in the middle - guys on the near side and women on the far side. the big building in the background is the Kenner Vineyard Church.)
the rest of the week was awesome. the weather warmed a bit, and we hit our groove with the work. finished up the demolition at Colleen's and installed insulation. helped out at Anthony's (87 year old world war II vet who has stuck around in part so that he can keep teaching chess to local youth), which is almost finished. beautifully designed interior, way beyond his best expectations. put up blinds and installed doors and door hardware with Sam (pictured in the entrance way). Anthony is a big fan of vibrant colors, as you can probably see. not pictured is his hot pink bathroom.
on friday, got to help a guy named Justin move everything out of his home so demolition could begin in preparation for reconstruction. he and his mom have been living in a flood damaged home for over 2 years now.
had tons of fun all the way through. here's a picture of Ross 12 feet up on top of the newly built levies in the lower ninth ward (he stood on Colin's shoulders and then Gray and I helped push him up).
one day while we were working, a Marc Cohn song came on that really hit the spot. "Dance Back from the Grave" great tune. captures something of what we got to be part of in New Orleans. something of what God's up to there. what God's up to here. in me, too. here's the opening lyrics of the song... (you can watch him perform it just below)
I used to wake up every morning saying I must be getting away with something here
Every day was like parole before the levies overflowed; I refuse to think it could all just disappear (I refuse to think)
How long before the street car rattles down St. Charles Avenue and beads swing from two hundred year old trees
How long before they walk down long Lake Pontratrain with the smell of just magnolia on the breeze
Yeah I’ve seen people laughing all the way down to the cemeteries just to send another soul off on its way
Yeah I’ve seen them dance right up to the edge of it
But this time their gonna dance back from the grave
Dance back from the grave