Thursday, February 23, 2006

Valcine's Account of the Wed, the 22nd

Wat up,

"This is Valcine coming 2 ya, live @ 12:11 in New Orleans " Just wanted to catch you guys/girls up on wats been up! I've had a very long day, this afternoon we were cleaning out a water-damaged, mold-infested house. You couldn't imagine! We had to scrub the wood planks and since the water was turned off in the house we had to haul water from a broken water main down the street. Wearing plastic suits and face masks made it really hot and we had to be careful not to hit our hands on the nails sticking out of the wood.

The day ended with a very fun, exciting Mardi Gra parade! We got a lot of beads to give to our friends back home. I have been taken in so much since I've been here including good food and nice weather, way better than it would be in Boston this time of year.

Even with our cold weather, I am missing the 617 and will be very excited to get back home. I will leave you with the reminder to keep checking our blog, because there is more to come including pic's especially of serious damaged houses, funny Mardi Gras parade , all the nice people we've met and more!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Shane's Account of our Day

"Wow" what a day we had, we did a lot of cleaning. The first thing that we did was meet with Mr. Ted Quant from the Twomey Center. He had a meeting, but made a little bit of time to talk to us. He is really involved in trying to get New Orleans rebuilt and to make sure that poor people are able to come back to the city. He also talked about how he is impressed with the way that a lot of youth are using hip hop culture to organize in their communities. Then we went out to eat Ms. Jean Brown who is the assistant to Mr. Quant. We had some of the best Gumbo in town.

After we ate we went to see her house that had been flooded with water and had nothing left. Here are some pictures of her house. SHe told us about how her house used to be and that she may rebuild but she is probably not going to move back.

Once we got done looking at her house we helped her to get some stuff out of her attic on Thursday. It was a little dangerous becuase parts of the ceiling had fallen down so there were holes in the ceiling. From her house, which was in New Orleans East, we went to another house in New Orleans East. The house had already been gutted so we had to scrub the wood beams to try to get off dirt so we could put bleach them and get out the mold.

It was really tiring but I got over it and just did what I had to do. One of the things that I felt most good about was helping people be able to get back into their homes. Well I am about to do some other things now and I hope that you stay with the blog because there will be alot coming up. Peace.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bridging the Gap Between Elders and Youth

When we woke up this morning we weren’t sure what we were going to do for the day. Our service project starts tomorrow so we had a day free. While we were taking turns getting into the shower the members of the Shepards ? Center, began arriving for their daily activities. The building we are staying in, The Carrollton United Methodist Center, houses not only the churches direct activities but supports a number of other local organizations: The Uptown Shepard's Center is a senior citizen center for people living aroudn the church; The Twomey center is a part of Loyola University that does a variety of local and international social justice work. For more information on their work go to (

After explaining who were and what we had come to do. The director of the Center told us that there was a drama group that started at 9:30pm and that they would love to have us join them. Ms. Inga was a member of the group and told us that she thought they would love to have us in the group – so we decided to come.

We came in the room, set up the chairs and then everyone introduced themselves. We told them what Project HIP-HOP stands for, and even though none them seemed to know what hip hop culture was, they seemed interested in what we were doing. The group was very energetic and young at heart. The instructor invited us to lead a warm-up exercise. Then we broke up into groups to do scenes. One group had worked on a scene for homework, so those of us who had not been there before had 5 min to create an intergenerational scene.

Our scene demonstrated a conflict between young people and elders. We played out a scene where seniors were sitting on the bus and young people got on after-school and were overly excited about going to Mardi Gras. At first the elders were just annoyed by the noise and were asking the youth to be quiet; however, when they realized that the youth were talking about Mardi Gras they started sharing about their first Mardi Gras experiences. The play ended with the youth and elders coming together around their common experience and talking about how they could communicate better in the future.

We enjoyed the chance to do drama, and it was good chance to bridge the gap between elderly people and youth. Everyone told us that we have to come back in time for their play in April. Maybe we will?

Looking forward to doing some service (Shane)

Hi this is shane,

I am having a good time so far down here in New Orleans. Some of the things that I have done so far is taking pictures of the damage, telling stories, and just having a great time with my team. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this trip because I really like helping out other communities.

While I was taking pictures on the bus and in the car I saw alot of houses that had the blue sheeting stuff on the top of alot of roofs - the "blue roof" is from FEMA to cover big wholes in peoples homes that are damaged. Another thing that I saw was how most of the signs from stores were knocked down because of the wind from the hurricane.

I can't wait until i do some community service projects, because that is going to make me really feel useful. Well its 8:31am now and i'm about to get off the computer and go do some other things so i will write again soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

We are finally in New Orleans (T.J.)

After more than 41 hours of traveling we have finally arrived at the Carollton United Methodist Church. Thankfully the church has wireless, so we will be able to update our blog every day without trouble. Here is what we have to say on the eve of our first real day in New Orleans......

This is TJ.

When I was at home I was packing all of my stuff and I was kinda nervous. This is my first time leaving Boston. Half of me didn't want to go and half of me was excited to go.

Some things have been a little tough. Sleeping on the bus, having to get up at 2'o'clock in the morning to get off of the bus so it could be cleaned. Basically traveling is tiring. By the time we finally go to New Orleans, the first thing I was thinking about what taking a shower, changing my clothes, and talking to my mother.

Now that I am showered, I feel pretty good. I am still a little stressed about being away from my mother, not having all the money I was supposed to have for the trip, and running low on cell phone minutes - but I'm feeling a little bit more relaxed. As I dictate this entry, Valcine is picking out my hair so that I will look decent when we go get something to eat.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Valcine's Pre-Trip Jitters (Valcine)

Hi. This is Valcine.

I am eager to let everyone know that Project HIP-HOP's Katrina Relief Group sets off tomorrow night. I am very excited, since the last time I visited New Orleans, was two years before the devastating Hurricane hit. I am happy to help, see, and share, but scared at the same time. Why? I understand the old images I have in my head of New Orleans might be forever changed, but I'm excited to get the chance to HELP and let people tell their stories insuring Hurricane survivors and victims are never forgotten!!!



P.S. We will be keeping you all informed, don't forget to check for our latest posts!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Welcome to Our Blog

You have reached the Project HIP-HOP Katrina Relief Team Blog. Our team leaves on Saturday, February 18th to travel to the Gulf Coast. Feel free to write and ask us questions and check our blog everyday as we will be updating it frequently.