Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column feeling guilty after hearing a recent dispatch from the Crescent City.See, a couple of weeks ago, we wrote in this here column about an altruistic local, Steve Huntley, who was packing up his comfortable life here in the High Country to move to New Orleans – to do his part in the rebuilding of the city after Hurricane Katrina. Seems he felt the pull to help his fellow man … and he acted on it.Well, Steve recently checked in after “settling down” in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, one of the poorest and hardest hit areas in the city.”I knew what I was getting into, but it still looks like a bomb went off here,” Huntley said from a gutted home being used temporarily to house volunteers with Common Ground, the nonprofit group doing much of the rebuilding in the Ninth Ward.Huntley calls Common Ground “absolutely amazing,” and explains that the group has gutted more than 700 homes already, and is now mostly collecting property and owner information, so when homeowners do come back, they have a head start on the rebuilding of their neighborhood.”What we’re getting done day-to-day is encouraging. But if you look at this on the whole, it’s depressing as hell,” Huntley lamented.He said that there are a few people moving back into the area, “but not nearly enough.” There are still few permanent services – like water and power – in the area; most people are living off of services from one temporary pole, in their FEMA trailers.Morale, and confidence in the local government, is on the wane unfortunately, Huntley said. “There are a lot of stumbling blocks that people just don’t need right now,” he said.Huntley also said that there are a bunch of misconceptions in the press about progress in the city.”The press is still saying that no one is living below the canal. Well. I’m looking at the levee right now, and I can see where the barge came through,” he said. Of the crucial repair work being done on the damaged levees, Huntley described the progress as “pretty much a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.”Feeling guilty yet? Well, with Mardi Gras fast approaching (Fat Tuesday is next week), Huntley said there’s not much of a festival atmosphere where he is working. He said the Common Ground folks plan on attending some of the upcoming parades, but instead of being preoccupied with beads and boobs, they’ll be handing out fliers and T-shirts, and spreading the word that so much still needs to be done.”As far as going down for the party, nobody’s really interested. There’s just too much to do,” Huntley said.Sort of a heavy edition of this column, but we’re worried the rebuilding of New Orleans is fading into the subconscious of people’s short-term memories. Folks, so much needs to be done still. If you’re interested, we suggest that you start by looking up Common Ground on the web at http://www.commongroundrelief.org. We’re not asking you to pack up and move your life, like Steve did, but sending a small check to Common Ground would be a great start.Never has the phrase “laissez les bon temps roulez” meant so much …***On a more touchy-feely note, seems our crack automated ad system left out a particular Valentine’s Day Love Note in Wednesday’s edition. Here’s that poetic missive … hope it’s not too late!”To Faith: Our mountains are white, And our oceans are blue, And I’m the happiest man alive, Because I’m with you. Love, Samuel.”***Moving on, we’re sending out an Angel Alert! Angel Alert! to Ten Mile Dental. Thanks for thinking of us. The pink roses are beautiful and really brightened our day!***Lastly, we want to congratulate Erin Gray. Erin, a Summit High School senior, received the honor of being selected the Jefferson County 4A League Swimmer of the Year for 2007. Laura Graf, SHS swim and dive coach said Erin was chosen by the 4A swim league coaches for her contributions to the sport, her outstanding academic performance and exceptional leadership as the captain of the SHS swim and dive team.Keep up the good work, Erin.***We out, hoping to eat the baby in our King Cake.
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