Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Paving The Way

Soul of the South: Day 7, 8 and part of 9

We got to Baton Rouge and met with an awesome agency headed by Joyce Keller.  She has been an activist for 5 years now, and has presented to the US Congress.  She is very outspoken, inspiring, and lots of fun.  Asia says "that girl has got it going on.  She's acts like she's 18 and she is so determined."  Yolanda and Rhonda, two women from Joyce's agency brought us to family services of Baton Rouge, BRASS, and one other organization.  (I don't have the business cards in front of me, and we've been so many places I can't remember the names of the agencies).  Everyone on our journey has been so friendly.  It's nice to feel like I'm part of something big.  We slept at Joyce's agency and went and had breakfast the next morning at volunteers of America.  I'm starting to memorize Larry's speech.  After breakfast we left BR, and headed to New Orleans.  We stopped in LaPlace to see my mom and aunt.  I hadn't seen her since before Katrina.  We looked at pictures of her house in Chalmette and watched the video they took.  Everyone was so amazed.  I think it didn't affect me as much, because I've seen alot of the destruction already.  I had been back to New Orleans twice since Katrina.  I missed my mom though.  We chatted for awhile, then we left and headed to New Orleans.  We are staying at my old agency NO/AIDS taskforce (specifically the CAN office).  We don't have many things planned for New Orleans, as it's basically a ghost town.  I did notice that alot is being rebuilt.  The superdome was patched up.  I noticed much of the debris in Kenner and Metairie had been cleared out.  I saw alot of roofs being rebuilt.  The galleria had almost all of its windows back.  We took a nap at the CAN office, and then headed to Metairie to meet my friend Joe for dinner.  We ate dinner, then went to Bourbon street for awhile.  I saw a couple of friends that I hadn't seen/heard from pre-Katrina.  It was nice to see familiar faces, but it seemed very different.  The energy of the quarter has changed.  It "feels" different.  We had a couple of drinks, then went back to CAN to sleep.  I shaved today with cold water and a hand held mirror.  That wasn't too fun.  I need a shower too.  Asia, Chuck, and I went to Clover Grill for lunch today and we met the ED of Belle Reve.  She said that she knew of C2EA, because she got an e-mail the week prior to Katrina.  I told her that I sent that e-mail.  How random.  We are getting ready to go to ASO/CBO locations in the area, to leave posters and signs, saying that we were there.


Chris Rothermel

Host Committee Organizer: Soul of the South, Houston
Campaign to End AIDS



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