The day after Christmas, I’m heading back to the Gulf Coast for a week
with the volunteers. If The Muse doesn’t run out on me, this will be the first in a series of short and easy reads on what it all means. Or doesn’t.
This trip came about because we had some money left over from the last one.
After three trips with no skills other than strong backs, it was becoming pretty clear that unless we could kick it up a notch, there wouldn’t be much use in returning.
In Bay Saint Louis, most of the debris has been hauled away, and most of the houses than can be saved have already been gutted. What they need now is builders. 12,000 houses were lost when the waves rolled over Hancock County; maybe a couple hundred have been built back.
Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, to use that leftover money to take a small group of professional carpenters back down for a week of framing?
So we put out the word…
A funny thing happens every time we do that: the number of volunteers grows. Our first group had 4. The second numbered 9. The third was 23. This time, and even though we’re going in the middle of the holidays, 32 had signed up.
And suddenly, we didn’t have enough money. So right before Thanksgiving, we started passing the hat around our little village. A couple raffles, a lasagna sale, nothing very fancy.
As of today, we’ve raised $13,000. In less than a month. In a New York village of 7,000. So that we can build three houses in Mississippi.
Sure, it’s just anecdotal. But look at the latest poll:
Almost 52% of respondents believe that the federal government has provided too little aid to New Orleans and 55.5% are either somewhat or extremely willing to support more federal spending for the recovery.
The people interviewed also had concerns about how the federal and charitable aid was being spent with 62.2% believing that it had not been spent well.
The poll was taken between November 29 and December 4. It has a margin of error rate of 3.6%.
So don’t tell me the country has goddamn ‘Katrina Fatigue.’ The politicians and the media might, but the country? I just don’t buy it. This is nothing a little leadership couldn’t cure.