Hard to wake up this morning. Headed to the Research Lab. Over 100 meals served there alone. So many people, all of them so grateful for a hot meal. Our new neighborhood is so happy to see us. Such beautiful houses in this development. Now just cement foundations, nothing but piles of rubble. So much stuff in the yards. All their possessions, all thrown in the yard and streets. Such empty faces staring blankly at us, all looking for help. Where do they start to put their lives back to normal. I do not know the answer. All I can do is give a hot meal, cold drink, and a smile and a hug.
FEMA told them they would not clean up anything in their yards. Now they are pushing all the rubble into the street. They all have hope of rebuilding, but I think most are now condemned and will be razed soon.
We brought a Lot of smiles today. They love to hear us on the loudspeaker announcing our arrival. We sing to them. We almost died laughing when Carolina called us the "American Express" today on the loudspeaker.
Once again we are so tired at the end of the day we could hardly move. We threw a birthday party for a 9 year old who's mother and her lost their home and they are living in our hotel. We had the pleasure of a gentleman nicknamed the "Violet cowboy" playing guitar and singing for us. He was wonderful. He and his daughter and grandson are also homeless and staying at our hotel. This family is from New Orleans, St Bernard's Parrish. He sits in his room all day, so sad. His mother was in a nursing home in New Orleans. He put on a life jacket and waded through the water to try to get to her. The police would not let him in the area, it was already closed off. He begged and pleaded to no avail. He gave the life jacket to a police officer and asked him to please go find his mother and wrap it around her. To this day he doesn't know if she is dead or alive. He can not find anyone who knows where she may be. This nursing home was all over the news because of all the elderly residents that were left behind and died. His mother was in that very nursing home.
Just an example of the incredibly sad stories we hear on our route every day. Such incredible people.