It was an early morning yesterday when about 85 NCS members gathered in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton and boarded two buses to travel to our Habitat for Humanity project. NCS President Jeff Keane really wanted to make this outing a part of the Reubens to give attendees a chance to lend a hand to some of the people who are still struggling terribly from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area. There was a great response and despite the early hour and the long bus ride to the sites we worked on, the enthusiasm was very evident.
Our group received a brief safety talk at the Habitat for Humanity work center, and then we left for our individual sites. They split us up among three different sites, all homes that were being built on the sites of ones that were destroyed or ruined and then demolished in the disaster. The area were went to was called St. Bernard, part of the ninth ward where some of the worst devastation occurred. The experience was terrific. It was hard work and later in the afternoon it got very hot and humid, but we got a lot done on our site including completing the roofing and a lot of the siding of the home we were assigned to.
Our worksite upon arrival
Cartoonists on the roof!
I got enlisted to haul 80 lb packs of shingles to the rooftop
Measure twice, cut once!
The Lovely Anna hard at work
Doing a little siding after the roof was done
Mike Peters keeps a grip for safety
Me doing a doodle for one of the Habitat crew
The gang after a long day of hard work
Part of the ninth ward. These empty areas were all houses once
Dirty, scratched and exhausted, we had a log bus ride home where we went down into the ninth ward as saw the destruction. Houses were marked with spray painted “X”‘s that had information in the spaces including how many bodies were found there. It was sobering to be sure.
We arrived back at the hotel trailing dirt behind us, and received a very moving shock. At least 80 employees of the Ritz Carlton hotel were lining the lobby applauding us as we walked down the hallway. This was not a prepared thing… we had no idea it was going to happen. These people were genuinely thankful we spent a small part of our weekend dong the little we did. It sent a chill up my spine.
It was all fun and games after that. Here are some pics from the cocktail party and karaoke madness:
The Lovely Anna and myself
Jeff Keane, me, Mark Parisi
Sergio Aragones, Mort Gerberg, Nick Meglin, Grant Geissman, Linda Maloof, Lydia Geissman
Myself and the great Sergio
Nick Meglin, Grant Geissman, Linda Maloof
Rob Smith Jr and Eddie Pittman talk shop
Eddie Pittman, Rick Stromoski, Danna Gauntner and Daryl Cagle
Sam Viviano and his backup singers
Heidi Silver, me, John Martz and Steve Silver
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