Closing In

A year ago this project was an idea in my head and to see it come to life this week was incredible. There are several people I owe a huge THANK YOU for assisting me with this project. First, Mrs. Thompson, my Girl Scout troop leader. She has led our troop since 1st grade and her leadership and guidance over the past years has been invaluable. Thanks to Emily at LowerNine for her guidance and patience over the past seven months. I would not have been able to pull this off without her assistance.

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And lastly, a huge thank you to my three friends, Jill, Katie, and Sarah, who helped me complete the project. They gave up a week of their summer vacation and for that I am extremely grateful.

LowerNine is always in need of volunteers and supplies. Visit their website to learn more about becoming a volunteer (link is in the menu bar). A list of their needed supplies can be found at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/ref=sr_1_1_acs_wl_1?cid=A10FBPTUK3Q29W&ie=UTF8&qid=1450031733&sr=8-1-acs

I did not know what to expect when I continued with Girl Scouts, but I am thankful that I continued to be a part of great organization. I have learned so much from our leaders and the opportunities that I had a chance to be a part of.

As my project comes to an end, thank you for all your support through the process.

Meredith

 

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Day 3 with LowerNine

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Today was our last day with LowerNine. Because we finished the fence yesterday, today we were helping wherever LowerNine needed us. We were sent to Errol and Esther’s house, which happens to be the house I worked on last year when I came to work with LowerNine.

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It was really great to see the progress they have made on their house, but it was also shocking to see that they weren’t moved in yet. After talking with Errol and Esther about the work that needed to be done, we cleaned the bathroom tiles so they will be able to grout it later, installed baseboards, painted doors, installed door knobs, and helped clean and organize their workspace. Errol and Esther are such good, loving people and so appreciative of everything we do, even when we mess up a little.

After finishing at Errol and Esther’s house, we drove around the Lower Ninth Ward. After Hurricane Katrina, 100% of the properties were rendered uninhabitable. It is unbelievable how many homes look untouched since Katrina happened, almost 11 years ago. The closer you get to where the levee breach was, the more damage and untouched homes you will see. However, Brad Pitt’s organization, Make It Right, has built over 109 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward.

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Once we finished showering and resting up, we went out to dinner at Café Beignet for all day breakfast food and of course, gumbo. Afterwards, we walked around the French Quarter shopping for t-shirts and looking at the street artists, painters, and fortune tellers. We stopped for Ice Cream at Little Vic’s and then headed back to the hotel to pack before we leave tomorrow morning.

We had such a great time here in New Orleans and especially working with LowerNine. Hopefully we will get a chance to come back and help soon!

Meredith

*Check out the photos page to see all the pictures from our trip.

Day 2 with LowerNine

Day 2 with LowerNine was great! We started the morning off by replacing the rest of the fence slats and painting them. Since we made such good progress yesterday, some of us started painting the back side of the fence, while others touched up everything we painted yesterday.

While working on the fence, the small garden LowerNine has near the fence was in the way of our painting. As an added bonus we took it upon ourselves to clean up the garden and plant new flowers. For our lunch break, we went to Home Depot to purchase supplies needed for the garden. When we got back from our lunch break, a few of us touched up the back side of the fence and the rest worked on the garden and cleaned up their backyard.

We ended our day by completing the fence and cleaning their backyard, taking pictures, and getting LowerNine t-shirts!

For dinner we ate at the Acme Oyster House, where we had really good fried shrimp, rice and beans, and hush puppies. After dinner we walked to the Voodoo Lounge for a ghost tour. Our tour guide, D’Artagana (like the girl version of Three Musketeers), was super good and funny. We learned about the vampires, the Convent, fires, diseases, Muriel’s Restaurant, and the LaLaurie Mansion.

We are excited for our last day with LowerNine tomorrow and can’t wait to see what we will be doing!

Meredith

*Check out the photos page to see all the pictures from our trip.

Day 1 with LowerNine

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Today was our first day with LowerNine! We began our day talking with Laura, the Executive Director of LowerNine, learning more about the Lower Ninth Ward pre-Katrina and post Katrina. After hearing some of the shocking statistics, we went over our project assignment regarding the worn down fence at the LowerNine house and then we went to Home Depot to buy necessary supplies to repair the fence.

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Once we got back to LowerNine, our first task was pulling the weeds around the fence, so we could begin to paint. From there, we started to pull any old fence slats that were in a bad condition and then replaced them with new ones. We still have a few more to switch out, but we will finish that tomorrow. After replacing the fence slats, we started painting the fence. And for getting a late start into the day, I have to say we got a lot done.

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Tomorrow we will either finish the fence if the weather permits or work on other projects LowerNine needs indoors. After a long day, we headed back to the hotel to shower and wash off the sweat and paint.

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For dinner we walked to Mother’s Restaurant and shared some amazing pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and bread pudding. As soon as we finished dinner, we walked back to the hotel for an early night.

We had a great first day and can’t wait to go back tomorrow!

Meredith

*Check out the photos page to see all the pictures from our trip.

Welcome to NOLA

After a long eight hour drive, we finally made it to New Orleans.

Before the big lightning storm came through, we went to the French Quarter for dinner. We ate at the famous Café du Monde for some yummy beignets.

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After dinner, we walked around Jackson Square and took pictures in front of the St. Charles Cathedral.

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Now we’ve checked into the hotel for an easy night before tomorrow.

We are super excited to go work with LowerNine!

Meredith

NOLA – See You in a Week!

Blog Post #7We are about one week away from leaving for New Orleans and I couldn’t be more excited. I had such an amazing time working with LowerNine last summer – I can’t wait to get back!

A big thanks to my Girl Scout troop leader, Mrs. Thompson. She has provided much needed support the last year as I prepared for my Gold Award. Also a huge thank you to Emily, my contact at LowerNine. She has been patient with me and my many questions as I gathered information for this project. And another thank you to everyone who has made a donation for my Gold Award. It’s your generosity that will allow us to give back to those who need it most.

Thank you!

Meredith

The Crescent City

New Orleans will be celebrating its 300th anniversary in two years. The city is known for its food and music. But it is also well known for other things, including: Mardi Gras, voodoo, witch craft, cemeteries, and architecture.

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When you hear about Mardi Gras, you think about parades and beads and masks. But there is so much more to it than that. Mardi Gras is part of Carnival season which starts on January 6th and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent starts.

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Voodoo was introduced to the United States in the 1800s by voodoo queen Marie Laveau. It is used to serve others and influence the outcome of life event through the connection with nature, spirits, and ancestors.

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Witch craft is another popular belief and if you have watched season three, Coven, of American Horror Story, you will be familiar with it. In fact, American Horror Story was filmed in New Orleans at the LaLaurie Mansion, but not the original one. It was filmed two doors down because the original home was burned down while Marie Delphine LaLaurie was living in it.

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New Orleans is also know for the “Cities of the Dead” or its cemeteries. Because the city is below sea level, cemeteries are above ground. There are 42 cemeteries in the New Orleans area and 90% of the cemeteries are above ground. This is the largest amount than any other place in the U.S.

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You might think the architecture is modeled after the French. But it’s not. After the Seven Years War, the French ceded New Orleans to the Spanish. In 1788 and 1794, two fires burned down most of the buildings, taking the French Colonial architecture with it. After the fires, the Spanish rebuilt the building modeling it after their culture, which is still prominent today.

I hope this enlightened you about America’s most haunted city!

Meredith