F & M College: Postcards from Picayune, MS

January 7 - 16, 2006

Lancaster County, Fulton Bank and F&M adopted the town of Picayune, MS, to assist with hurricane cleanup and reconstruction. Picayune (about 50 miles northeast of New Orleans) ballooned from a town of 10,000 to over 30,000 residents after the storm. Students, staff and faculty participated in relief efforts over the span of two weeks, Jan 1 - 16, 2006. Below are pictures and text from the second week.

Choose thumbnails for largers picture. My journal can be found here.

Andy Gulati - Systems Librarian

Waiting for the Cresent, at 30th Street station, Philly; Sweet home Alabama; Week 1 crew departing Picayune, after a productive week; Linda Fritz first roof adventure; the transition crew of Andy, Tony, Linda and Ned assited Steve Hicks to re-roof a shed. Week 1 had re-roofed the house.
Tony is a shingle stud, hauling 70lb bags up the ladder; Bonsel (neighbor of work coordinator, Pat Spence) needed a new roof, after an 80 year old tree crashed through; our transition crew assisted a Virginia work crew, they constructed while we carted away the debris; that would be George Coons (work coordinator from NC, chainsaw wizard and cowboy!) and his 1951 Dodge; next day, first we stripped away the remaining roof at the front ends, then tar paper, then shingle.
VA crew master-of-ceremonies, Glen, kept everyone in good spirits - mainly pitting one team against another (for the record - our team beat Sonny's!); another 80 year old tree fell out back, fortunately AWAY from the house; Ken (VA crew) and Tony the trustee take a well-deserved break; Sonny thinks he's a field general, Nelson is the shingle king.
Ned and Linda at the tool trailer; finished roof (we had the BEST lunch - southern fried chicken, cornbread, gumbo - made us forget all about our turkey sandwiches); Tony, Linda and Ned; quite possibly the nicest yellow lab I've ever met; next day, students are here(!) Jayme moving branches to the roadside ditch, where FEMA will pick up.
Kevin is a natural at just about any vehicle, Meaghan rides shotgun; Pa and Ma Turnage; Steve and Ma talk about repairs - a fridge spill and water leak ruined the kitchen floor. The Turnages will be depending on this former hunting trailer, since their home in Benard Parish had been destroyed by flooding; Pa and son still manage a small herd; Pa doesn't get around too well on two feet, but is Fred Astaire on the tractor.
Meaghan lost a fight with an old oil can (there would be many such fights, with old metal scrap and lumber and branches and tires - Pa Turnage is a true pack rat); removing shingle at Momma Dot's; Kathleen and Erin completely clean out the yard; lunch time on a hot day - Jayme, Nate, Sean, Merlina and Elizabeth; that's 2 tons of old shingle, headed for the dump.
Another new roof, constructed by the VA crew - we learned a lot from these guys; Momma Dot and Duayne (Baptist minister, and our driver); Dot's dog; Nate and Kevin help Sonny cap off the roof.
Jayme finds a new home; Nate and Jayme the tree-huggers, joined by Ryan, Elizabeth, Sean, Kathleen, Merlina, Erin and Kevin; van one, on the way to tour the coast; flattened mansion; how can something so serene contribute to create so much distruction; Paul and Andy.
Mammals, birds and tides; (sand) bar-hopping; see-through church; houses in Gulfport, swept off their foundations.
Tangles of cars are still everywhere; Mexican crew, working to reconstruct the casinos - taking a lunch break (a lunch cart could make a killing in this neighborhood); sea-surge cleans out this McDonalds; touring more of residential Gulfport.
Scattered photos tells the story of scattered lives; Paul flees the scene like a looter; nothing but mold lives in these houses and businesses (just 2 blocks from the shore).
Tree completely slices this house, and still has leaves; Ray and Pat Spence (can you believe they've been married 42 years), Ray is a minister (and our driver), Pat coordinated our work out of the Baptist camp - the following Saturday would be her first day off since Katrina, working 10-12 hours days, matching work with volunteers and resources; Steve Hicks is from North Carolina, taught us all about roofs and floors, all-round great guy with a big heart; new house for John and his wife, fallen tree flattened their trailer home and meager nursery; north meets south, another VA crew - they specialize in commercial construction back home.
John's estate, a FEMA trailer will be their home till the house is complete - their first home ever; Andy gets in the way of Nate's fabulous MRE - these meals-ready-to-eat were the prime source of nutrition for many weeks, throughout the region, while electricity was out.
The Gallery, this was at our last job site, removing many fallen trees (videos will appear here soon!); beautiful sunrise greets us for our last morning; waiting for Amtrak at Picayune; Josh Zook, this was his seventh trip - front-end loader operator, can flatten a home in 20 minutes - hope to team up with him and the Mennonite Service Committee in the future; one of a zillion freights that would stretch our 26 hour trip to 35 hours!
Emerald the iguana, Daniel's pet - Daniel and his mom were on their way to Atlanta, their current home till they figure out what to do with their New Orleans condo; fresh faces at the beginning of our long haul home - Drew, Jayme and Nate; Jamie's 20th birthday, enjoys a tasty birthday muffin (Liam is having an out-of-body experience); eat that muffin!