Down on the (Grand) Bayou

Trip Start Nov 26, 2010
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27
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Trip End Nov 18, 2011


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Fuller Center

Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

     Last week, while working with volunteers from New Jersey and Iowa, I became heartistically connected to one of the homeowners and one of the churches that we were working on.  Herman Demolle and family has been waiting over five years to move back into his home that was destroyed by Katrina.  It is a ranch style home with brick veneer that was submerged.  The house has been gutted down to the frame and a number of sections of the brick got pushed or pulled or rinsed off from the framing.  Last week, the volunteers completed the new rough-in electrical work and started re-claiming the brick by chipping off the old mortar.  A tedious project.  Three of the lady volunteers set up a little brick chipping department in the driveway and were telling friends and family back home that they came to Louisiana and were assigned to hard labor, breakin' rocks all day.  It actually saved Herman the cost of new bricks and also the style of bricks would match.  He bought about 300 new bricks that we will use on the back of the house.  Herman works on a boat for a living and comes to help when he's not on the water.  His Dad
 has come around a few times to help also.  He, too, is a fisherman, and when he came by yesterday and we introduced ourselves, I thought I had put my hand in a vice instead of a handshake.  He also had the misfortune of being on the water one day during a storm and was struck by lightning on his head.  His baseball cap had a small metal button in the center and the lightning hit there and exited his armpit.  He had been wearing full rubber waders, and thinks that's what saved his life.  I told him that reminded me of the song that says "God's not done with me yet".  I told him how seasick I got the time that our piledriver, Neil, took us out for our bybye party in Biloxi and I introduced a special kind of chum into the water for the fish (my regurgitated cham and heese samich).  He larfed and told me that he still gets seasick too.  I was surprised that professionals get seasick too.  So, anyway, this weeks worth of volunteers cancelled at the last minute and this week we have only two volunteers, myself and Lee Struck from Hudson, Wisconsin.  Lee has been here five weeks and will be here for another three.  He was my mason's helper for yesterday and today.  Since I had laid brick one time before, I was the mason.  We done good so far though.  Not being a mason by trade allows me to do stuff that a professional would never do.  There was one section of wall that was approx. 3 ft by 4 ft. that was between two windows and was leaning out at the top of the wall by about 2 1/2 inches.  Being also founder of the BLP club (Basically Lazy People), I usually look for easy ways of doing stuff.  So, we cut the one joint near the bottom of the section and then simply laid in flat on the scaffold, cleaned up the chunks of mortar on the back that had been keeping it from going back, shlepped a little mortar on the bottom and stood that sucker back up in place in one piece.  Braced it in place and them backfilled it with new mortar to keep in in place.  Having all this fun and not getting paid.  Fun, fun.
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Comments

Joan on

Hi Peter,
So sorry to hear that this week's volunteers cancelled. I so want Herman and his family to be able to move into their new home. Hugs to you and Lee for continuing the good work. Is it any warmer down there? Here in NJ, it's 22 degrees out.

Colleen on

Hello Peter from Missouri. We worked together in Bay Waveland. Glad your experiences are still fun. Please email me at colleen@rivercityhabitat.org so we can chat about Jefferson City, Santa Fe, and Anchorage.

Ed Hourihan on

Hi Peter. Thanks for adding me to your blog list. I really enjoyed working with you last week. Learnt lotsa good stuff frum u;) Especially how to offset trim 3/16" of an inch (if only I could have remembered:) But seriously useful items like the 'enxtenderators', 'offseterators', 'bracerators'....you know that stuff you learn after doing carpentry tricks! Evne that close call I had with the nail gun was a leanring experience. Iknow, I know keep my hand one foot away for what I'm nailing. BTW if you're missing a knob (short for 'openerator') for one of the HVAC access doors we installed last Friday in the bath rooms..I found it in my jacket pocket yesterday. I admire and appreciate what you're doing this year and will keep you in prayer. I really hope we get to work together again when you amble in to NJ to work with FCNJP. God's Peace, Ed

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