August 29 marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Maggy Charles, Program Manager for Mission & Service Engagement, went to New Orleans to remember the people who had suffered in the storm and celebrate the many volunteers who have helped the city as it continues to recover.
On Friday evening, about 700 people gathered at Steager Theater, where Mayor Mitch Landrieu and several dignitaries thanked the volunteers who came to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina.
The room was packed with people, including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, first responders, community leaders, and faith-based organizations. While the theme of the event was to honor the heroes, the message was loud and clear: New Orleans is moving forward, with new schools and new infrastructure that are built to last.
Maggy Charles with New Orleans Superintendent, Michael Harrison.
“While post-Katrina New Orleans is celebrating its many progresses,” said Charles, “let's not forget that many communities, especially those in the Lower Ninth, are still struggling and are counting on all of us to help make their voices heard.”
Over the course of the weekend, Charles also met with community leaders as well as the staff of All Souls Church and Community Center in the Lower Ninth Ward, a Trinity partner, to strengthen the partnership and raise awareness of All Souls’ work.
On Saturday, Charles and 45 other volunteers from across the city went to All Souls to help prepare the community center to receive neighborhood children for the fall after-school enrichment program.
The volunteers were tasked with cleaning the entire building from top to bottom, which included scrubbing the walls and floors and organizing classrooms as well as the cafeteria to be used by future students.
The highlight of the day, which began at 7am and lasted until 12:30pm, took place when the center's manager asked the entire group of strangers to join in a circle to pray and encourage one of All Souls' parents and summer workers, Danielle Tucker. Tucker is a single mother with two young girls who is part of a job-training program for Lower Ninth Ward single mothers co-sponsored by All Souls and the State of Louisiana.
After volunteering, Charles went with others to a wreath-laying ceremony for the dead in the Lower Ninth Ward, attended by Mayor Landrieu and Nancy Pelosi.
Maggy Charles with Nancy Pelosi and Fr. Edward Thompson, Priest in Charge at All Souls.
The day ended with a dinner at St. Paul's church in Lakeview to thank everyone who helped rebuild the community. Trinity was recognized as one of the many churches who came to help after Katrina and is still there 10 years later.