Today we worked with an amazing organization called Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. YRNO's mission is to purchase blighted homes and then employ the local youth to remodel/rebuild. Then they sell the finished homes at discounted rates to area teachers. Not only are they making housing more affordable and rebuilding neighborhoods, they are teaching a trade to a younger generation. Most of theses homes were abandoned and repossessed by the city after Katrina. We arrived on site a little before nine and were greeted by the team. Maggie and John were the project and construction managers. Earl, Jevon, Isiah, and Paris were all local college students supervising different parts of the project.
Jacy, Taylor, and Caitlin worked with Jevon cutting 2x6s with a table saw to the appropriate size to fit between the studs in the home. Courtney, Ethan, Destinee, and Mia assisted Isiah and Paris with hanging the sheetrock in the attic. Trevor, Aaron, Willow, and I helped Earl measure and nail boards between the studs. Most of the work done was to bring the home up to code and to stop the spread of fire. Many of the homes in NOLA are referred to as shotgun homes because they are narrow and very long. We learned in our tour of the French Quarter that the expression comes from the idea that one can fire a shotgun from the front door and it will travel out the back without hitting anything.
The home we worked on was a double shotgun because one family lived in each side of the house. This is why a lot of care is taken to stop the spread of fire from one family's living quarters to the other. We worked with some exceptionally, caring people. I really enjoyed myself and got to converse and laugh with the crew the entire time! We were also able to try multiple jobs on the site. The house we were working on was basically just a shell with studs inside, but there was a house across the street that the organization had already finished. They gave us a tour of the final product and it looked so incredible. It appeared small and old on the outside, but the inside was a different story. YRNO really does turn out a quality product. It was obvious the amount of pride that everybody had in it. I could tell how much they all enjoyed doing their work as well. This has definitely been my favorite project of the trip so far. I would definitely want to volunteer with this organization again if I am ever in NOLA. It was a privilege to be able to work with such driven, passionate individuals.