Saturday, November 10, 2007


When people are determined, they can overcome fate;
when the will is unified, it can mobilize energy.
Enlightened people do not even let nature put them in a set mold.
--Huanchu Daoren

What you are viewing is a phenomenon I have been encountering recently. Houses collapsing amongst new structures being built. People living in homes amongst the stench and health dangering effects of mold from ungutted houses. Those who are and were able to, have gutted their houses. Sometimes, the long delays involved with waiting for help have left the gutted shell to rot and fall. Any hope now gone of saving their home.

The house on the left is ungutted and the smell of the mold, even from the street gives me a headache as I photograph. The brick structure on the right is the result of a neighbor building their own house, which many people in the 9th Ward are left to do with the help of relatives and friends and when they are available, volunteers. These neighbors come after work and on the weekends after a long week at work to rebuild their homes. Working next to houses, in this case, which could make them very ill.

These 2 photo's above speak so much to the spirit of many of the people of the 9th Ward. Amongst the ruins, out of the ashes rises hope. Could you do it? Could you build with the hope and fortitude necessary in such conditions, without complaining endlessly about your neighbors house collapsing next to you? The people in this area know, they must take care of their own destiny, that there may never be any help coming for them. And so they do what they need to do.

The neighbors on the left, one of the first households to rebuild and come back on this street - Law Street, must live amongst the stench of the mold and the rotting houses across the street and next door. Oddly, my experience has been when I speak with community members who have done and are doing just what these neighbors have - it is I who is angry that they are left amongst such living conditions when they are doing everything they can to rebuild their homes and communities.

"Why," some would ask "would people choose to live this way?"

In my opinion, these are extraordinary human beings who are able to "Dream the Impossible Dream."

Jah Bless.

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