I received a lengthy comment to an earlier post about the New Orleans ELCA youth gathering. I reprint the words of doctorj2u here.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the ELCA for holding their youth gathering in New Orleans. The biggest hurt to me from the storm was the sense of abandonment by a country I had loved with my whole heart. Unbelievable massive unending devastation, a populace doing its best to survive on an individual, family and community level.
Slowly small groups of volunteers began to appear. Groups of 10, 15 and twenty. Coming to help on their own dime out of the goodness of their heart and their outrage of injustice. But for every volunteer there was an American telling us we deserved the horror of Katrina, that we were stupid to live in our 300 year old city that had parts below sea level, that we were not “really” American.
It was April 2008 when I realized New Orleans would survive. Ever since then, though slow, the progress has been steady. And when I read that the ELCA was bringing 37,000 (!!!) to come and help the city I thought to myself THIS is what I was waiting for. THIS is what I thought would happen after Katrina and the levee breaks.
One speaker of your group said if one person worked 4 hours a day, 365 days a year, it would take him over 900 years to accomplish what your group did in a weekend. That is an AMAZING thought and you should be so proud of yourself, your volunteers and your church. 4 years after Katrina we are now at the halfway point to total recovery. The ELCA is part of that and I cannot thank you enough. It was a very good weekend for New Orleans. We are not forgotten.