Today was sadly our last day volunteering with United Saints. It has truly been an amazing journey working with some of the most caring, hardworking, and unique individuals at the organization. One of the aspects I really appreciate about United Saints is the time they are willing to take to personally get to know the homeowners they are helping. United Saints as I can best put it are the "gems" that make New Orleans the city where people love to be.
Some of group spent our last day finishing things up at Ms. Jeanette's house. I believe working at Ms. Jeanette's house really made the trip come to a full circle. One of the first few days we were in New Orleans we had the pleasure of working at her house. The architecturally astounding house was built back in early 1830's. Ms. Jeanette eventually bought the house to help save its historical value. When looking back at Ms. Jeanette's house from the first trip it was extremely overwhelming. Almost all sides of the gigantic two-story plantation style house needed to be primed and painted. After working our first day at the project one could notice we had made significant improvements, but the house still needed a lot more help. Now, coming back two days later it was amazing to see how little still needed to be done. I spent most of my day on an A-frame ladder (yeah, we know ladder terminology now) high up on the second floor balcony painting trim around the enormous windows. While spending almost 7 hours painting only two windows, when I stepped back to look at our final product I was extremely grateful to see how much we were making a difference for Ms. Jeanette, even it if it seemed like a slow and gradual accomplishment.
Now for those who don't get the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jeanette, she is probably the sweetest and most passionate 71 yr old woman one could ever meet. She spoke to our group at the end of the day about her community garden project in the lower 9th district. Her plan is to help teach people how to become self-sufficient through her gardening expertise. As tears began to roll down her face when discussing the food desert in the lower 9th ward one could truly see how much Ms. Jeanette cares about her community and those affected by the hurricane still ten years later. One day, I hope to be as passionate and inspirational as the angel most commonly referred to as Ms. Jeanette. It's people like her that are going to help change the city of New Orleans!
PS. Here is a link to Ms. Jeanette's garden project in the lower 9th ward: