Sunday, April 2

More Photos!

The Paolelli pics have been posted:


Saturday, March 25

The Photo Situation

Howdy folks,

As a commentor wisely pointed out, the "linko no worko" for the picture site that I linked to a few days ago. Sorry about that. The problem is a simple one and quite embarrassing for a psycho-about-spelling journalism grad student like me. It turns out that New Orleans is in fact spelled "New Orleans" and not "New Olreans," as I spelled it when I made the Webshots photo account. Oops.

So here are the 11 photos I posted in all their glory:

There are about 6,000 photos from this trip on various people's cameras and that's not even counting Vytas, who photographed every blade of grass in N'Awlins. Once we make more photo sites, we'll be sure to post the links on this blog. Stay tuned and thanks for all your support during the trip! We had an incredible experience and it was nice to share it with all y'alls on this here blog.

Cha cha now y'all,


Friday, March 24

Julia Padvoiskis, mech-e '08, woot woot

Chantilly Lace, had a pretty face, and a pony tail, hangin down... this song is stuck in my head thanks to mary's van (don't worry, it's a good thing). today was our last day and padre's krew finished house numero three! yeah, we're just that good. despite our aching skin (from the fiberglass insulation) we are doin great. it was a huge house and we did a lot of work on it. four people decided to be the numa numa team and wrote part of the lyrics on their haz-mat nasa suits. other exciting things included the driving mishaps which i'm not sure that i have persmission to include in this blog. i'll use code names... t-bone drove the van through a closing gate at boystown, m-dizzle got pulled over for running a stop sign but sweet talked her way out of the ticket...::wink::, and k-dawg got in a fight with a giant dumpster...and lost.
soon it will be off to le rue bourbon (snooty french accent) for an evening of sweet music and meandering.
oh and you'll have to check out these pimp beads FK got... they got fire fighters on them.
and i need to buy a t-shirt.
and me and prost face and veto found this sweet gyros joint last night run by this big rappin latino dude with silver grills. i think we shall go look for it again tonight.
and jess left :(
and so did krystina (the other day)
our numbers are dwindling
so is my time
everyone else gets all evening to blog... 'cept me apparently, i'm being rushed
toodles y'all

Last Day

Jackie Korpics WCAS '09

Today was our last day of work. Group 2 came close to finishing their second house. Group 1 finished their third house, and the owner Deborah Richardson was extremely thankful for everything we did. You could tell we were all getting a little tired-- I definitely caught four of the guys in my group (I think Mike, Aaron, and Matt) singing "I want it thataway" by the Backstreet Boys while happily brooming and shoveling away. They were very excited about their brooming and shoveling- they even had their own theme song- something like brooma brooma yay? Looking back on the week, it all went very fast- but it still seems like I've been here for a long time. I think it's because so many experiences, emotions, and wisdom were packed into these 7 days. I know I'm taking a lot of this trip back home with me besides possible Katrina cough and fiber glass embedded into my skin, and I know that everyone else feels the same. New Orleans is a great city, but is still in great need of help. Hopefully when everyone gets back and tells their stories more people will become aware of this. I will definitely miss this place, especially Father Toni's food! Goodbye New Orleans...

Thursday, March 23

Captain's Log, Stardate 3.23.2006

Starfleet Junior, Aaron Ehlinger, WCAS- group 1

Group 2 continued with its insubordinate ways and will be punished. After a long night of "bowling" and "swing" dancing, they were in no condition to keep up. We have placed the outlaws Tim Higgins and Mary in the brig. Our humanitarian vessel nearly completed our third expedition, while the other group (esp. Vytas) cheated its way by claiming to have completed a house that was simply deemed in need of demolition. I believe they have completed only one dwelling thus far.

Our social justice theme today was solidarity, an important concept to be kept mindful when swimming through piles of moldy fiberlass insulation. There is something inherently stress-relieving about bashing in drywall with a crowbar, but it is far more sombering to think of what this location and it's habitant has been through. We should be able to clear and sterilize the location before departure. I don't know if I can say the same about group 2. I suppose only time will tell..... Until our next journey. Jr. Ehlinger, signing off.

Solidarity, Brother!

In the spirit of solidarity, this is an interdependent post between Chris, Psych '07 and Vytas, Mech-eng, '08ish.

The day began: "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Hello? Yes. this is the Big Bopper speaking... hahahahaha, you sweet thing, ... O baby you knoowwww what I like!... "

Team 2 was the dynamo of the grandest sort today. Powered by raisin bran with whole milk and triple chocolate chunk muffins (and a little coffee). we rampaged through the remainder of house one, and quickly defeated the second, to move onto the third, we are now caught up to team one in numbers, but are far superior in ethos and looks.

The start of the day was pure tedium, mainly consisting of pulling nails from the floor and ceiling. I sang for three straight hours to boost morale and as the sun rose high in the midday sky, the behemoth, nay gargantuan, house 1 had fallen! Again, we were greeted by Henry, the owner, who offered his thanks once again. The bleach spray quickly quelled the spreading mold and the house was ready to rise once more from the floodwaters. The peanut butter was extra creamy and the jelly extra sweet as we ate lunch following our completion.

But then, there was no time for a nap! House two loomed in the horizon. We hopped in the van and were off, "High ho, Silver, away!" exclaimed Mary as we pulled away. The second house was a breeze, yada, yada, yada...

House three was on the other side of town, which allowed plenty of time for our sister Julie to snatch a quick cat nap. The third house was smaller than the other two, and the owners had already been working hard all day. When we arrived, refreshed from our meal and nap, the work kicked into high gear. Within minutes, the house was emptied, and drywall being stripped from the walls, like the peel of a banana by a large ape. Vytas and I teamed up to remove 6 large appliances from the kitchen, and luckily this time, the fridge stayed closed... which was good, as the first refrigerator we experienced unleashed its rancid scent as it flopped open, spilling its contents onto the ground...

But time was ticking, and soon the day ended, with the ettoufe of the owners quenching our thirst for seafood-based stew. Team 2 will not be packing lunches tonight. Then our bellies were filled with bowls of sausage and chicken gumbo and cheesecake (and bread pudding and bananas) and reflections began. The theme of solidarity reminded us that we do not work for the poor, but with the poor. We became cogniscent of the interrelatedness that is present between all peoples and the duty of working for the common good.

As the day turned into night, the Bopper finished, "Chantilly Lace, and a pretty face and a pony tail.... Ohhhhh bbay thats whatta I Like!" We must go now, as rue Bourbon calls and angry group 1 members hover about... Solidarity Brotha!

New Photos!

Hey Blog enthusiasts,

There are more photos at the following site:


Wednesday, March 22

nice day dream

Woo Chung, McCormick, senior,

The morning was unexpectedly cold. however, the day time was good because it was neither cold nor hot. We slept after lunch on the ground. The work was quite intense. We took off floor tiles and the nails from floor. I had to lead reflection today. Because I did not prepare well it was so short.

National Aeronautics and Sleep Administration

This is Chris Paolelli, Weinberg '06, reporting from a computer in the rectory at the St. Jude Shrine in N'Awlins, where ten of my colleagues currently are crowded around the desk, insisting that I blog quickly. So no pressure, really. Okay, here I go.

Today was Wednesday, but I thought it was Tuesday for most of the day. That's neither here nor there. Team 1 spent the morning gettin' 'er done at the second of the three houses we have thus far visited, finishing plaster removal (Hoo boy, was that fun. Are you looking for a hobby...?), and sweeping various bits of debris from every nook and cranny of the now-fully-gutted ex-house. Meanwhile, Team 2 remained at the very same domicile at which they've been dragging their booted feet for three days. In their defense, the house has--I would say "had," but they're not done, so I'll use present tense--an allegedly elaborate floor plan, but I'm sure their productivity wasn't helped by the following incident: Shortly after noon today, with their stomachs full of peanut butter and jelly and their leader Mary Deeley offsite for an errand, Tim and his charges decided that driveways are not only for parking cars, but in fact for parking hind ends as well, which they proceeded to do for the next 45 minutes, giving a literal dimension to the term "sleeping on the job," (which I would argue they've been doing for three days). When the chirping of the birds and the whistling of the wind through the windows of their as-yet-ungutted house finally roused them (with help from Vytus banging a baseball bat on the driveway), they had fallen hopelessly behind Team 1 in efficiency.

Speaking of Team 1, we have since moved on to House #3, where the furniture and wood trim are history and the walls are waiting to be torn down. We've also found time to bond with Debra, the owner of House #3, and create customized NASA uniforms for select members of our demolition team (Krystyna, Matt, Mike, Aaron and myself). (If you're wondering, the appropriate refrain here is "We look awesome in our NAAAASSSAAAA suuuuits...") As for team 2, I hear they're going fishing.

I am now in serious jeopardy of physical violence at the hands of my colleagues in the office, most of whom are members of dear old Team 2. Toodles!


Father Ken looks funny in a Tyvek suit~

John Lee
Today we the team 2 almost finished on the LARGE house. Hopefully we will finish taking off the floor tomorrow and move on to another house to start with. The best part of today's work was to take a nap during the lunch break. We all lay down on the driving way having water bottles as our pillows. I dont know how fast the time went by. As we woke up, I could feel the heat on my face. There was definitely sun burn on everyone's face. But it was a really good nap on this kind of nice sunny day. We have been working really really hard past three days. I pray for god to provide us enough energy that will help us keep working hard for the rest of days.

Tuesday, March 21

Krystyna, Mathematics '09's finally my chance to write on this blog. Perhaps this will make up for Julia and my lack of posting on the winter New Orleans trip. Since this is the 6th blog update of the night, I will try to keep this short.

Today was such a tiring day, and in terms of physical work, this has been my hardest day yet. We didn't quite finish the house we (Padre's group) were working on, and will return tomorrow to finish knocking down all the plaster from the walls, sweeping the floor, taking the refrigerator out of the house somehow (it doesn't quite fit through the front door...), and taking nails out of the house's frame. The plaster is unbelievably heavy--so much heavier than sheetrock, and who knew it took so many nails to attach it to the wood beams?? I'm very grateful that no one was hurt by falling debris today. I just got this feeling that with 12 people pounding away at the walls with giant sledgehammers, a disaster was waiting to happen. We also learned on our drive back from the job site today that it's quite possible to fit 12 people and work equipment into an 8-person van. Provided we put two people in the trunk.

I also feel the need to mention that we saw Maureen last night at the Tulane panel. Maureen went with us on the winter trip, and it was so nice to come back and see her. So a big "hello!!" to her and all of my other winter trip friends--I miss seeing all of you beautiful people!! And Martin, I didn't really appreciate your comment on the first post in this blog--I'm really not that mean when it comes to playing Hearts... :-)

Bananas are the funniest fruit~

Michael (Mike is fine) Han, ISP/Biochem, Real Fine '09 =)

DAY TWO!...the topic was respect and responsibilities. this teaching is based on the fact that we're all people created in the image of God and that all our relationships are connected by a web of respect and responsibilities. another major point of the topic is that everyone is entitled to basic human rights, such as family, health care, religion, etc., and that everyone is also entitled to the right to a decent life. This topic works surprisingly well with the situation around us especially because of the controversy that's been in the area ever since Katrina hit. As Kanye so boldly pointed out on the news on that oh-so-Dreadful day, there has been ongoing controversy about the delayed response of the government and the fact that New Orleans and Louisiana in general is predominantly African-American. Although it's easy to turn to racism as the reason for what happened, I can't help but think there were other reasons. It's true that the majority of the city is comprised of lower class African American people and it's also true that although equality of the races is prominant in America, it hasn't fully integrated into all of society. However, I don't think that'd be enough motivation for the government to take such a drastic step in showing such animosity for African Americans. I'm sure there are much more complicated aspects and twists to it, but that's my two cents.

After attending the forum at Tulane University and listening to victims themselves, I felt a bit guilty for having all that I had. I may be here to help those around me, but in the end, the victims are the ones who have to live with it for the rest of their lives whereas I can go back in a week to enjoy my normal life. In that sense, I can understand where the misunderstanding of condescension may originate from.

Gutting the houses and all, quite alot of things went through my mind. Especially considering the topic 'Respect and responsibilities,' I realized that what we are doing is not simply gutting out houses and doing hard physical labor, but we're helping someone, who's lost pretty much everything they've owned, get back on their feet and also to obtain hope. As volunteers in the Catholic community, it's important to keep in mind that the things we're throwing out onto the curb are the owner's possessions full of memories and stories. in that respect, we need to respect those items rather than blindly doing our job just to finish gutting the house and moving onto the next.

I was surprised to see that although it's been six/seven months since the flooding and the massive news coverage, so much help is still needed. Although I am helping out for a week, I feel like I'm just an itty bitty part of that. But, on the flip side, by helping out one-by-one, eventually, it'll get to the whole city and ultimately, to all the areas that were hit by Katrina.

As for everything else, I'm really enjoying it. Slowly starting to get to know everyone and although the work is tough along with waking up at 6:20 am every morning, the food definitely makes up for all of it. but one thing is for sure: this is by far the MOST efficient I have EVER been over spring break...and I say that in a good sense.

*NOTE: if this entry doesn't really make sense and seems abrupt, it's probably because:

-one, there's a theater major girl sitting next to me singing...and the energizer bunny is jealous...for sure
-errr...random videos...nothing bad tho (like no joke)

Toad looks funny in a bathing suit

Jennifer Choi biology ‘09

Today was our second day at work, and as much as we hoped to finish our house by the end of the day, we had to leave the house unfinished. This house was bigger and had more stuff in it than we had thought, so it is taking us a while. Time went by so much quicker today than yesterday, probably because this time we knew what we were actually doing (well I did, at least). The hardest part for today was just dragging out loads and loads of insulation, pieces of walls, etc – it seemed like there was no end to it. But it was a great feeling to have Henry and Marianne (the homeowners) thank us. I’m glad we came down to New Orleans.

(change in author) This is the night for blogging so I’m going to keep this really short. I assume everyone else has talked about the work and the wonderful people we have met but probably left out our nightly reflection. Tonight Tim’s van had yet another conversation about FEMA (Failure to Effectively Manage Anything as one panelist at Tulane put it). We still haven’t come up with any conclusions…

On a side note it turns out Julia can still talk with packaging tape covering her mouth, I guess next time I’ll have to try duct tape. Oh yeah I’m suppose to send a shout out to all those who went to New Orleans in December, you guys should have come back where having an amazing time.

Jessica Anderson

History/Math Major, 2006

21 March 2006

Today was our second day of work gutting houses. Group 2 was still working on their first house, but awesome Group 1 finished their first house yesterday and we moved onto our second today. This house was a lot cleaner than the house we worked at yesterday. There was not nearly as many possessions to clear out, and we spent most of the day tearing down walls and such. However, I found today more difficult, because so many objects in the house were similar to things that I would find in my own. The bathroom that I cleaned out today literally could have been out of my own apartment - down to the same moisturizer and hair spray. Once again I realized how similar these people are to myself, even though we find ourselves in such radically different situations.


Hey avid blog readers,
Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday, but we were a little busy. Thanks for all of the comments though, we really appreciate them.
After two days of enjoying the sights and sounds of N'Awlins (pronounce it correctly or they'll know you're a tourist...), we were more than ready for our first day of work yesterday. Most of us woke up at 6:29 a.m. for our daily 6:30 morning prayer, we ate a quick breakfast and we were off to the Catholic Charities headquarters, where we received our marching orders and all the equipment we'd need to be an effective wrecking crew. Due to our large number, the group split up and worked on two separate homes.
The house my group worked on was basically untouched since the water receded. I can say without a doubt that this is the most difficult work I've ever done in my life. Wearing a hard hat, goggles, a respirator and a NASA-style body suit (kind of like those clean-up guys in Monster's Inc...), the conditions were intense. It was pretty humid and I was soaking wet with sweat after about 2 minutes. It's also difficult to enter someone's home and see all their worldly possessions strewn about. By the end of the day, we had cleared out the entire home, bashed out the walls and ceiling, and basically prepared the place for renovation. I was pleasantly surprised at how well we worked together, accomplishing tasks that seemed impossible when we first began. Also, I can't overstate the awesomeness of being allowed to destroy something. As I sit here typing this after two days of work, I'm subconsciously figuring out how I might go about taking the room apart with a crowbar.
Everyone is reading over my shoulder and telling me to get off the computer now, so I guess I have to wrap it up. This has been a really incredible experience so far and I can't wait to share it with everyone when I get back home. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go try to start a round of Big Booty...
Peace out and keep the comments coming,


Sunday, March 19

See some photos!

Loyal readers,

We'll be posting a few photos from each day at the following Web site:

Check it out!

Still more good stuff...

Kate Pomeroy 08, English and History

Today was St. Joseph's Day and Tim's birthday! St. Joseph's feast day is a huge deal here (and Tim's b-day should be) and to celebrate our fulfillment in Jesus, we all received fava beans (for Tim's b-day we gave him a Red Sox necklace). Father Tony gave a delightful and impassioned homily and the mass was made particularly powerful by all the families who had lost everything, but who continue to hope, believe, and thank us for being here. This city is beautiful, and so varied, as are the stories we've heard so far-- in particular the story of Mr. Arthur, an elderly man who paints his grandmother's tomb every day and who was in the Dome when the hurricane hit. Altight, don't wanna overwhelm y'all, so more info available on request and thanks for reading!

Kevin Brandwein, 07, History and Secondary Ed

Today was a good day of rest and reflection as we prepare to begin work tomorrow morning. I think that seeing the 9th Ward Yesterday had a huge impact on all of us, but today was a day that really revealed the spirit of the city itself. Church was a lot different then many of us are accustomed to. It was lively and fully of joy with clapping and hymns that reflect New Orleans' style of celebration. Surprisingly, Father Tony told us that it was actually a subdued celebration compared to those not during the Lentin season. Its amazing to see that people's faith has not been shaken in life or in God. Later in the day a man was telling all of us about the huge impact that Father Tony has had in the city. He spoke of Father Tony's dedication and active participation with everyone around him. Most importantly he praised Father Tony's ability to go out and actively seek ways to help. Father Tony's passion drives him to go beyond his normal duties as a priest which reminded me that we can't just do our normal "duties" as a Catholic. Its important to actively seek ways to encounter others and share our time, love, and abilitities. By the end of the day I think we are all ready and anxious to get to work and hopefully make a small difference with our hands and a big difference with our awareness.

Kate Puhala, Journalism, 2008

Today we wandered to Cafe Dumont to get some ridiculously good coffee and beignets FULL of powdered sugar (or not for those of us who gave up "sweets" for Lent, poor dears). After a nice picnic in Jackon Park and leaving a trail of said powdered sugar for the birds, we ran over to the Shrine for mass. The mass was one of the most spiritually fulfilling I've experienced in quite a while. The church was packed with parishioners from around the area and who relocated to Batton Rouge after Katring. Accoring to Fr. Tony, they commuted an hour to pray and worship with their community--they didn't allow the tragedy of Katring to kill their spirit of togetherness. In Fr. Tony's homily, he spoke about how each of us are sacred (he used an example of a temple, as shown in today's Gospel) and said that each human being deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of social, class or economic boundaries. This, and our experience of walking around the ninth ward, tied in nicely with our small group discussions on Catholic Soical Teaching of Family, Community and Participation: In the rubble, we saw people's lives laid out in front of us--lives, like someone said, which could easily be our own. We decided we wanted to help each other based on our care for others as human beings, and didn't allow our prejudices to set up superficial barriers against one another. We need to remember, especailly after we help in New Orleans, that we are called to help one another as a family-- as brothers and sisters-- to care for and respect one another as we live out the Gospel message.

The Journey Begins...

Each day on our service trip we will be focusing on one of the seven Principles of Catholic Social Teaching. We will include within this blog our experiences as well as our reflection on each of the principles.

Elizabeth, Class of 2009, Undecided in McCormick
Yesterday we arrived in New Orleans after leaving Evanston at 6:30 in the morning. The city seemed to be in decent condition when we drove through for the first time. It wasn't until we visited the 9th Ward that I realized how much has yet to be repaired. The 9th Ward is the area of the city that was hit hardest by Katrina last fall. Visiting yesterday it appeared that very little has been done to repair the area. The roads have been cleared, but the houses have not been bulldozed, repaired, or otherwise addressed in any way. The area has no electricity, no gas, and no running water. Even 6 months after the hurricane, no one lives in the neighborhood and at night it is pitch black for miles. I was shocked at how little has been done. In the 9th Ward we reflected on the first principle of Catholic social teaching, the dignity and life of the human person. I think that everyone is born with inherent dignity and worth, and therefore we should all be treated and treat others with an equal amount of respect. The group discussed our own interpretations of this principle, and talked about how it applies to our work here and to the survivors of hurricane Katrina.

Julie, Class of 2009, Theatre & Religion double major
Just to add on to Liz . . . Walking through the ninth ward was a very powerful experience. The area was a ghosttown. Remains of people's lives were left strewn everywhere: clothes, toys, a cooler was hanging in a tree. We stayed in the ninth ward for about an hour and a half, and no one was around. The only noise you could hear was the wind. As we were praying together and reflecting in the ninth ward, three men in a white pickup drove by. "I used to live here." One man yelled out the window. "That's my grandpa's house." The men proceeded to get out of their truck and survey the devastation. They walked over to a neighbor's house that had been completely flattened. We walked over with them, and standing in what had been someone's living room, we listened to one of the men express his frustration and anger at the situtation of the former Ninth Ward residents. This visit was his first back to what had been his home since Katrina, it was extraordinarily powerful to see his first reaction to the devastation.

Rebecca, Class of 2008, Social Policy Major
After being oriented to the facility that was to be our home for the next week, everyone went to explore the 9th Ward. As Liz and Julie have stated previously, the devastation there is unbelievable. Seeing full-size houses flattened, knowing that at one point the water submerged the entire first floor of the homes, and finding entire houses completely displaced many feet from where they originally stood, made the tragedy of Katrina that much more real. I had seen the Katrina coverage on television, but there's only so much one can see from a TV screen. I cannot imagine what all those people must have gone through. They had their everything turned into nothing and had no control over it. No person should have to go through this. I gained a newfound appreciation for all I have in my life. No human life is worthless. I am happy to have the opportunity to have a small part in potentially restoring the dignity of the people here and the community.