That’s right, I’m headed down to New Orleans bright and (too) early tomorrow morning to cover Rebuilding Together’s big event in the Big Easy. Fifty for Five is an effort to rehab 50 homes in the Gentilly neighborhood in 5 days and is a sort of celebratory construction binge to mark the more extensive work that the organization has done throughout the region. Volunteers from all over the country are headed down to help repair homes in this Katrina-devastated neighborhood, and I have been asked along to share the effort with whoever happens to wander into this humble blog over the next few days.
First, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. Sears Holdings (in the guise of the Sears Blue Appliance Crew), the key sponsor for this event, is paying my way down to New Orleans and is even hooking me up with a Flip Cam to document the action. They are not, however, dictating anything that I write (or don’t write) while I’m there. In fact, they have been very clear that there is no requirement on my part to mention them or even the organization running this whole deal if I don’t want to . . . except of course in this disclaimer. The only thing they ask is that I at least write something about the event while I’m there and that I use Twitter to document my doings, a request that definitely needn’t be made. Okay . . . great, that disclaimer stuff is out of the way. If you still have questions about my integrity please use the comments to tear me asunder.
I haven’t been to New Orleans since about a month before Hurricane Katrina. I was on a cross country road trip that was, much as this is meant to be, supposedly focused on writing. In fact, to give a little context, I dug this excerpt from the trip out of the vault . . .
the moon hung turgid and lurid green over the still spectral idea of new orleans as we burned
the black miles beneath us.
this is the moment where unsleep begins to undermine the ground,
where the surface shifts, cracks, divides.
and so on . . .
I’m not sure that actually gives much context. At least we can hope it doesn’t. I’m certainly not planning on turning this trip into some kind of Gonzo take over of the blog, but I’ll admit, we might become a bit of a one trick pony for a couple of days. If you don’t want to hear about New Orleans and the Fifty for Five event, I suggest shifting your focus from now until Monday over to the Postgreen Homes Blog or Hybrid Construction where there will be some good old fashioned building talk. If you do want to hear about New Orleans then hang around and help me out.
I’m not yet entirely sure how I am going to cover this event, but I hope I can make it interesting to all of you who stick it out. I plan to take plenty of video, talk to whoever doesn’t run away from me and, of course, follow my normal digressions to their inevitably confusing conclusion. I also hope to find an insight or two on the repopulation of a city, something that has been occurring in a much slower way here in Philly. Most importantly, I plan on taking whatever useful suggestions I can get from our readers. So, use the comments and use them well. I’m gonna need all the help I can get.