Fall 2006 Katrina Response Update
Nov. 3, 2006 - “I tell you the truth. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August, 29, 2005. As of November 3, 2006, Orphan Grain Train had delivered more than 125 semi-loads of food, water, equipment, and tools.
More than one year later, the losses were still heartbreaking. In New Orleans the destruction was comprehensive and funding woefully inadequate. Despite the brave slogans painted on handmade signs, many homeowners did not return. Many New Orleans neighborhoods were a virtual ghost-town because homeowners cannot rebuild. The reasons are: 1. Inability to get funds. 2. Inability to get insurance. 3. Inability to get skilled labor.
A New Orleans home in Sept. 2006.
In 2006, many neighborhoods still did not know whether they will be spared or bulldozed. Even major corporations waited to see what the future held for them. Some residents lived in 240 square-foot FEMA trailers, waiting for permission, funds, and manpower.
As of Fall 2006:
Over half of New Orleans remained a ghost town.
Only 57 of 117 schools were open.
Most hospitals were still closed.
Orphan Grain Train’s latest relief efforts along the Gulf Coast
Camp Restore at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in New Orleans is a cooperative effort of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, the Southern District of the LCMS, Laborers for Christ and Orphan Grain Train. The camp was opened in September 2006 when Orphan Grain Train delivered a new mobile kitchen trailer to the camp to provide the hundreds of meals needed each day for the volunteers from the camp and a nearby camp at Bethlehem Lutheran.
Click here to read a full-length article about Camp Restore at the LCMS Reporter Online.
Representing the four partnering organizations at Camp Restore’s Sept. 10 dedication are (l-r): Rev. Ray Wilke, Orphan Grain Train; Rev. Kurtis Schultz, LCMS Southern District; Rev. Matt Harrison, LCMS World Relief and Human Care and Mr. Dan Baker, executive director of Laborers for Christ.
The mobile kitchen in place at Camp Restore.
Orphan Grain Train mobile bedroom units like these at Camp Atonement in Metairie, La., continue to be utilized by cleanup volunteers.
Venice, La., is situated at the mouth of the Mississippi. Before the hurricane, Venice was home to 430 people. Katrina’s eye passed within 10 miles of Venice and a 25-ft. storm surge swept over the town.
As Katrina receded it left the seafood industry destroyed. A 68,000-barrel oil spill compounded the ruinous effects of Katrina on this tiny town. Every residence and business was flooded. Most were totally destroyed. All but a handful of the fishing fleet was lost. Access to the village was blocked for months.
It was March 2006 before residents were allowed to return. The town’s infrastructure is still in ruins. The village church, fire department, and U.S. Post Office were still not reopened as of August 2006.
As husbands try to restore their fishing boats they need storage for tools and equipment. Their wives need more than an 8-gallon hot water heater and a laundromat 50 miles away. Saint James Lutheran Church of Gonzales, La., requested help for this need, and Orphan Grain Train delivered the first six mobile laundry units this August.
Laundry units have been a great blessing to people in the numerous small towns along the Mississippi southeast of New Orleans because they are a secure, weatherproof means to provide a basic necessity for people in FEMA trailers who would otherwise commute several dozen miles just to do laundry.