how fortunate i really am and how unfortunate i normally feel. i am sitting in the Providence House which is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is my first time in New Orleans and have fallen in love with this city and its culture. The city is completely different than many make it sound. sure there is Mardi Gras or what people outside of New Orleans think is Mardi Gras but the natives actually practice it because of its religious significance not for “beads”. The restaurants are all owned locally and each offer their own touch to the melting pot that is New Orleans. Now everyone knows about the damage caused to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina almost four years ago. What people seem to forget either by choice or because they lack knowledge (like i did before this trip) this community is far from recovered. A local pastor said that his church was averaging around 400 before Katrina and now they are around 50. The local community had around 70,000 people within its county or Parrish limits and is now up around 40,000. Many house and streets are still ruined and abandoned. Yet, as an outsider i could never tell. The people never showed any of the hard times in their expressions towards me. The most intriguing thing about New Orleans is the concept of community. They have monthly art festivals, musical productions, and countless vendors selling their own creations. All the bars and restaurants have doors and windows wide open so you can hear the live band playing. Their is a huge emphasis on the arts and the people are extremely outgoing and fun. In so many ways you would never guess that a disaster like Katrina had ever occurred. Then you take a real look at the community and you see the pressing need for volunteers to rebuild. They need money for supplies and also need tourism again to boost the economy. I look forward to the opportunity to help out this local church in March and would encourage anyone else to find some way to get involved.