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CLIF Blog

Nov. 10, 2009
New Orleans—Day 2
Day 2 from New Orleans. The work continues... And without further ado, some reflections from Katherine

I sit with the soft hum of my laptop and steady whisper of the wind here in New Orleans. It's day 2 of In Good Company—a partnership of businesses joining together to make a positive difference through hands-on action. Today, we split into two groups. Some of us went to help build a community garden and some went to help build a home for Alice Cousin, a 79-year old New Orleans native who also cares for her two grand-daughters, one of whom has Cerebral Palsy.

Today, while painting the baseboard of a living room, I got to chat with Ms. Cousin. Hearing a first-hand account of Hurricane Katrina gave me pause. How can so many people still be displaced four years later? I was also inspired: Ms. Cousin spoke to a few of us with incredible grace and humor. I didn’t even realize I had finished a side of the room by the time she left.

I came to this experience not knowing what to expect. I've never been to New Orleans so it was hard to envision the destruction. Having toured New Orleans from both a pre- and post-Katrina perspective yesterday, I am starting to learn that with every mile of still-present destruction comes two-times the heart and soul of a genuine community. Only two full days in, I've swapped waves or smiles with countless locals. People nod and give a “thumbs-up” as they pass. People want to dance a “2nd line” with us.

And while I'm experiencing community on a macro level, I'm also experiencing community on a more intimate level. After working on the house or garden today, the 27 of us returned to the one house in which we're all staying. Tonight, I got to help prepare dinner and had the most amazing time with 5 others chopping, stirring, and getting to know each other that much more. When all 27 of us sat down to eat, it struck me that only two days into this experience, it doesn’t matter what company we work for—we're all in this together, creating our own community and helping out a larger one.

With that, I plan to go downstairs to watch the leaves dance to the whisper of that wind and keep getting to know both my old and new friends on a deeper level.
Posted by:
Guest Starring
Category:
Office Life, 2080
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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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