Friday, March 9, 2018
Today was another beautiful day in Baton Rouge. Again a little cool in the morning but short sleeves were needed by noon. The azaleas are in full bloom and beautiful. They are having a beautiful spring here. Rita and Dave arrived today and said it was 28 at their house in Hoover this morning. They really enjoyed the warm temperatures this afternoon.
This morning we worked on team paperwork, and then drove over to Baker, LA, about 30-35 minutes away. We saw many homes still boarded up and others that looked abandoned. Remember this flood occurred on August 11, 2016 when 24-36 inches of rain fell as a result of a no-name tropical storm. There is still evidence of the flood all around. There are entire neighborhoods where almost all the homes were flooded and there are small FEMA trailers in almost every yard. Some parishes (counties) had 75% of the homes damaged. The UMC currently has over 300 homes owners fully vetted and waiting for assistance. We will begin working on one of the homes in Baker Monday morning. After 19 months there is just still so much damage. Our home owner, Richard, age 70, had eight feet of water in his home. It was the home he was born in. His parents built the house. The house was condemned and demolished. Richard bought a modular office building and will be making it his home. We will tell you more about this project as time goes on.
After meeting with Richard, the construction superintendent and his assistant at the job site, reviewing some drawings and making plans for Monday, we returned to FRED, had a light lunch and then welcomed Rita and Dave to Baton Rouge. Later in the afternoon, we helped unload more mattresses for the 54 college students staying here at the church who will spend their spring break volunteering here in Baton Rouge. Pastor Laraine came by to say hello to the early arriving team members and we had a really nice visit with her. She is in charge of all the UMC disaster response for the state of Louisiana. We all decided to go to Rice and Roux for dinner tonight. All seven of us enjoyed our dinners and the company was even better. Looking forward to the arrival of the rest of the team tomorrow.