Disaster breeds hope. When people lose everything, other people instinctually reach out to help them. Four years after Hurricane Katrina, these are two important things for the men, women, and children of the Lower Ninth Ward to remember.
This is Ms. Henrietta. She reminds me of my grandmother for some reason. When she talks about the people at that other bureaucratic and cold “disaster relief” organization talking nasty to her, she starts to cry. It makes me want to punch someone in the face.
Ms. Henrietta has lived in the Lower Ninth Ward since 1944. When the storm hit 4 years ago, the family evacuated to Houston, then to Natchez, MS, where her relatives’ house burned to the ground. So she and her kin spent two whole years in Dallas before finally, FINALLY getting up enough money and resources to move back to the Lower Ninth Ward. Then, four months ago, her son was murdered.
Ms. Henrietta has not owned her own stove for over four years. Ever since Katrina hit landfall and the levees broke, this Everywoman Grandmother had not been able to do necessary grandmotherly things in front of a routine cooking apparatus that should be located in her kitchen.
Today, because of the new “Where’s Your Neighbor” program, she’s got one. And the best part is, it only took $200 to get her a stove and some money to buy groceries with! Mr. Wesley Foster, himself a neighborhood guy, sold the stove at a discount when he found out what it was for. So with the rest of the cash, Ms. Henrietta purchased some food to get all grandmotherly with.
Up next on deck for WHERE’S YOUR NEIGHBOR?: We’re working on getting a refrigerator for a lady who just had majorly debilitating surgery. Also, a seamstress in the neighborhood, who would like to teach local kids the artistry of drape-making and upholstery, has experienced contractor fraud THREE TIMES since starting the remodel on her shop.
The Lower Ninth Ward Village has already installed stairs in the seamstress’ shop, but now she needs drywall, ply-board/Hardieboard, painting, and floors — a total cost of $400 to $600 if we can scrounge up free labor. If we need to hire local contractors for some of the work for her, tack on another couple hundred bucks.
Who’s got some end-of-the-year tax-donation money burning a hole in their pocket?
DONATE NOW! And please, email to volunteer with the “WHERE’S YOUR NEIGHBOR?” program.