Say it again: November 2006



A review of my favorite posts from November …

(Plus highlights of my other blog, Wade on Birmingham.)


New Orleans, day 2 | a day at Peggy’s house

How do you rehab a moldy house?

First, sweep all the floors. Second, scrape each and every stud, one by one, with wire brushes. Third, vacuum all the floors after waiting an hour. Fourth, wipe every stud and floorboard with paper towels lightly dampened with diluted Pine Sol.

New Orleans, day 3 | working alongside a criminal and a crime victim

You know the guy who spent most of his life in jail, gave beatdowns to hapless cons the way most of us give dirty looks? The guy who got caught burglarizing, stealing cars and taking meth?

He was on my painting crew today.

New Orleans, day 4 | meet the littlest victims of Katrina

At the shelter, we met Roxanne and her pal Jim. She immediately began sizing us up for suitable pets. Cain, a pit bull about to be adopted, nearly tackled me in trying to simultaneously hug and lick me. It’s as cute as it sounds.

Cain must have passed on the secret, as many of my canine charges didn’t feel satisfied until they had leapt on me to say hi.

New Orleans, day 5 | gutting a house

The work had begun the day before. Armed with sledgehammers and crowbars, we become an army of destruction. It is grueling, dangerous work, with risk of dehydration, concussion, suffocation, exhaustion and infection.And it is one of the most sought-after assignments among Hands on New Orleans volunteers.

Pour all your frustrations, your anger, your mistakes into knocking down that wall. They want us on that wall; they need us on that wall.

New Orleans, day 7 | visiting the Lower Ninth Ward

Nothing is happening here, save for us driving along slowly on a Saturday morning.


Although it is only a few miles away from the more familiar sights of New Orleans, the Lower Ninth Ward is invisible to the city’s visitors. And yet, it demands to be seen, to be remembered.

To be mended.

Especially that Coco | let’s put on a show

Even after the many hours of hard work gutting houses and scraping mold, a handful of volunteers at Hands on New Orleans has found yet another way to pass the time. Caliope, a sometime writer, and Adam, an actor, wrote a script on a whim, along with Chandra, an AmeriCorps team member. The play? A musical about life as a volunteer down here.

It sounded better in Japanese | a toast to the couple in Kyoto

He has been to, at last count, Korea, France, Norway, Sweden, China, Denmark, England, and, of course, Japan. I’ve been to … Canada.

It doesn’t merit comparison.

Because not only has he visited these places, he has also lived there, without knowing the language or the customs beforehand.


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