Posts filed under 'Lora_Said'

Mosquito Attract-o


All of the sudden, without warning, the mosquitoes took over the camp on Tuesday.  We woke up, and there they were–you could barely eat breakfast because you had to stop and swat every few seconds.  At first we couldn’t figure out where they were coming from, and then we remembered–Monday, one of the men here finally hooked up the Mosquito Delete-o.

The Mosquito Delete-o is a contraption hooked to a propane tank which is supposed to kill mosquitoes.  It’s been sitting around camp for months, and none of us have figured out how to get the darn thing working. Until Monday, when someone did.  We didn’t think much about it–you know, how it works or anything–until the mosquitoes took over the camp.  Pam realized that the Mosquito Delete-o calls the mosquitoes to it in order to kill them.  And… it was sitting right next to the shower trailer on the campsite!

On Thursday I reached my breaking point when one bit me on the face.  I had the guy who turned it on promptly turn it off.

The mosquitoes are much better now.  😉

3 comments August 19th, 2006

Baskim & Sephilla


The cookout last night was, as usual, a blast.  We had several ladies help in the kitchen all day so by the time we got to the cookout I wasn’t totally exhausted and was able to have a lot of fun.  Phil and Mike grilled pork chops and Pam made some sort of Cajun white roux peas & sausage medley which was amazing.  (Because what’s a meal in N’allins without the sausage?)

I saw a couple there last night who I’d met at the second barbecue, and they’ve been back ever since.  They are named (I’m not kidding) Baskim & Sephilla.  They had dated on and off all through college (she sat in the front row, he in the back, and he’d watch her all through class–awww!) but after college she joined the Peace Corps and traveled the world for seven years.  During that time, they lost touch.  When Katrina hit, she stayed in her house to care for her cats, but once the water rose to the ceiling, she put some cat food in the attic, and swam for the interstate.  Through eight or ten feet of water.  And it’s about a half a mile swim.  (That water had a current and a stench to remember, also, I’ve been told.)  She made it because she’s very athletic, and spent the next nine or ten months in Seattle.  During those seven years in the Peace Corps she tried desperately to find Baskim, but never could.  But… during that time in Seattle she finally located him, called him, and he dropped what he was doing in Idaho and drove to Washington to meet her.  As the story goes, as soon as they saw each other, they kissed and then he immediately said, “We’re getting married, right?” and she said, “Absolutely.”  And… three weeks later they got married on the summer solstice.

He’s a carpenter, so he didn’t want a wedding band that would get bent and damaged so their wedding rings are tattooed onto their fingers!  They’re little suns (because of the solstice) and great conversation starters.

It’s still crazy that I’m meeting people with stories like this.  In other news, Tyrone was sad to hear I’ll be leaving in a few weeks.  He said he’s going to buy me an authentic New Orleans souvenir before I go… but I don’t know what’s more authentic than the crawfish he bought me! :)

Add comment August 17th, 2006



Last night, when Mike and I got back to Pam’s, there was an American Eagle gift bag with a green card on it marked “Lora” hanging on our bedroom door knob.  It turns out that Pam’s daughter Becky had been shopping, saw a shirt she thought I would like and bought it for me!  It was a totally unexpected and sweet surprise!!

I thought I would post a picture of the Mercy Response staff that we took at K Paul’s on Saturday night.  After our week of crazyiness last week, I guess Phil decided some staff bonding was a good idea (everyone was in as good a mood as I was, if you catch my drift).  K Paul’s is the restaurant in the French Quarter that created the blackening technique that Louisiana is now famous for.  All I can say is a-mazing.  Luckily none of us are germaphobes, so we all tasted each other’s dinners.  Personally, I think that Stacy’s filet mingnon was the best…

From left to right is Scott, the new guy here for three weeks from Texas (by way of Philadelphia), Stacy, Phil, yours truly, Mike and Pam.  Just some faces to put with the crazy misadventures you’ve read about.  The basket of bread on the table contained yeast rolls, corn bread, jalapeno & cheddar bread and these little molassis bread muffins. How do you pick just one? Yum!

Right now there is a team here from Pennsylvania!  They’re from Philadelphia, which used to seem like far away, but down here they’re like kin!!  :)

3 comments August 15th, 2006

Last week, this week.


So… last week is over. (amen!) The cookout on Wednesday was awesome, though. Because we had so many teams here, we sent them into the neighborhoods to hand out fliers and invite people. The good news is that many people they met had already heard about it, and some said they already had plans to come.

It rained all night (a steady rain, but no thunder, lightning, or flooding) so a lot of people took their food to go. And, for the first time, we ran out of food! All that was left were some rolls, and a little bit of bread pudding. (We fed 200 people.) So Pam and I will have much more cooking to do for this week, so that doesn’t happen again!

Today teams from two churches arrive, but they’re much smaller groups–a team of five, and one of seven. Both, ironically enough, were church plants started from Joshua House–our church in Columbus.

Yesterday was a very relaxing day spent in the quarter (though we had ourselves a few adventures which I think Mike wants to post about). They finished repairing the roof of the Superdome and the Saints will play in New Orleans again this year! There is a big sign on it which says “Reopening Sept 22nd.” I think it’s good to reclaim it as an icon for the city since a lot of people have bad (to say the least) memories there.

Anyways, we slept in yesterday and today and things are looking much rosier for tomorrow. :)

Add comment August 13th, 2006

Lack of zzz’s


This week we had the most people here since Mike and I arrived. They were a very outgoing and energetic group of… almost eighty people. Add to that lack of sleep, and also that I didn’t get a weekend last week, and also that every free moment was spent reading and studying for my Vineyard Leadership Institute midterms and you can get a picture of how bright and sunny this week has been for me. I took my test this morning, and haven’t spoken much besides a few grunts since then.

The last thirty people will leave tonight, so the staff will have both Saturday and Sunday off. So… if I haven’t posted or called as of late… that’s why.

It’s interesting to me how on these most crappy of weeks that God usually shows up in a significant way. Probably because I’m the most undone and willing to listen to whatever he has to say. Last night Phil had the Mercy Response staff listen to a CD called “I AM” that had music and a narrator reading 365 different names and attributes of God. It’s funny how a week of non-stop studying the deeper nuances of Systematic Theology and it’s a 30 minute CD that leaves me utterly undone and in tears. I suppose it’s because the facts of God and the person of God can seem so utterly distanced from one another at times and last night… I was just able to look into the face of God and see his kindness and strength and compassion and enormity and ferocity clearly once again…

Tonight I think we’re going out for coffee and music at a place called PJ’s. I think I need some brain numbing fun. 😉

2 comments August 11th, 2006



Mike and I saw our first wild gator this week! We’ve also seen four nutria on the side of the canals…

I apologize for the lack of posting as of late. The Wednesday night cookouts–though awesome–are so much work. This week in particular, Pam and I got a late start and we were rushing to finish cooking everything at the last minute. Usually we finish between 12 and 2 o’clock and have a few hours to take it easy before we leave. This week we were cooking until four o’clock, and we try to leave at four thirty!

This week we cooked:

60 lbs of peas!
40 lbs of chicken!
15 lbs of pasta!

The outdoor kitchen where we cook everything was 95 degrees–with the air conditioning running full blast! When we opened the window, it felt like cold air came rolling in–and it was in the nineties out there, too!

We finished last minute, but everything got done. And we were all set up and ready to go at the site by six o’clock, so all was well, but it sure was exhausting. I barely talked to people at the cookout–and that’s usually the highlight of my week.

Add to that having to tear down and clean up at the end of the night, then get up and make breakfast for the teams at six thirty AM and you have a long, tiring couple of days. I really hope that I can catch up on my rest soon because I feel really drained. And when I get tired, I get anti-social. And there are two teams here from our church in Columbus and I’ve barely talked to them all week! :(

Hopefully I’ll recover soon enough!

2 comments August 5th, 2006

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!


Since our gallery page still isn’t up, I thought I’d post a few picks. The first three are from our cookout last week. Note the girl from Minnesota learning how to suck heads. And yes, those are the remnants of the crawfish I ate!

Yesterday, since we have Sundays off, we decided be touristy and go visit a plantation house! The particular one we visited was about forty five minutes west of Kenner, and was called “Oak Alley.” The pictures make it easy to see why! (We passed two armadillo road kills on the way there, however.)

Here’s the breathtaking view from the road. Twenty eight 300-year-old live oak trees line the path to the mansion.

I love the south!!

Ah, well, enough fun for one weekend. Back to sweating and cooking and working outdoors! 😉 (We will get that gallery page up soon! We have so many more pictures we want to share with you!)

5 comments August 1st, 2006



Last night Mike and I went out for sushi (where we inadvertently ate squid tentacles which tasted remarkably like bacon) and afterward took a stroll up by Lake Pontchartrain. On the drive home down Williams Blvd (a pretty major street, six lanes with lots of businesses), we saw a dog making its way across the street. It wasn’t moving very fast.

This, in and of itself isn’t very unusual (to see a stray wandering around.) Because many people had to leave their pets in the city when they were evacuated and rescued, lots of dogs *ahem* “got together” and sired many, many puppies. Now those puppies are big dogs and you see them (all scrawny and stuff) wandering around town. We even hear packs of them in the field behind the church, which can be unnerving at times.

Anyways, back to my tale, I saw the dog, and shouted to Mike to put on the breaks. And… when he did, the dog came into the headlights, still slowly making its way across the street, and we could see that it wasn’t a dog at all but a goat. A little, four foot goat.

Some days I just say to myself, “Where am I?”

2 comments July 29th, 2006

Pinchin’ Tails


I… did it. I did it! I pinched tails.

Last night, the cookout was a huge success. Excluding the people we brought with us, we fed around 150 people! There are four FEMA trailer parks in the area (that we know of), so, since the security guards are confined there, we thought we’d bring them over dinner in carryout boxes. I took three members from the teams we had with us (two from Minnesota, and a guy from Texas) and we drove on over. But… as I was pulling away from the cookout, a man came running up to the truck and said, “They said you were leaving!”

It was Tyrone. Tyrone, and his niece Yolanda, I met last week at the cookout. The flies in that field are terrible. We were talking about N’allins cuisine, and I made an off hand comment about how I’d rather eat food that flies landed on than suck the head of a crawfish. Well… he promised me that he would bring me some crawfish (and the spicy corn and potatoes they boil in the water with it) the next week.

And… he did. He ran up to the truck with a clear plastic bag full of crawfish. How… terrifying!! (And sweet.) When we got back to the cookout I… brought the crawfish over and he and his niece’s daughters taught me how to do it. (I got schooled by a six year old! She told me that it was just like eating celery. ???)

So… Yolanda pulled them in half, BUT… I pinched the tails myself. I… never thought in a million years I would could do that, but, it happened. The corn and potatoes were so spicy that my lips were tingly and numb!! Think they could’ve started a Yankee girl like myself off with mild? 😉

[Tyrone swam a half mile in 8 foot water to get out of the flood last August. Yolanda delivered her sister’s baby on I-610 during the evacuation. He’s living in the trailer park, she’s renting a place with a mice problem… and, though deathly afraid of mice, considers herself lucky.]

Never a dull moment.

6 comments July 28th, 2006

Wed Night… again.


So… The Wednesday night cookout is tomorrow night and… I’m not sure my sneakers are even dry yet from last Wednesday! We tried throwing them in the dryer but the steel toes made it rattle so hard I thought it was going to break the machine!

I chopped pepperoni today–several pounds of it until my hand cramped. (We’re putting it into the baked ziti for the cookout tomorrow.) Last week we would’ve run out of food had we not had a that freak thunderstorm, so we’re making a whole lot more this week! (Hence, the hand cramp.)

Yesterday Mike and I were down in the Gentilly area putting up yard signs we had professionally made to advertise the event. (They look sweet.) We visited the lot where the cookouts are held and… it’s still soggy! In fact, one of the back streets still had flooding. It… is a bit unsettling to think that a week after a one hour rain storm the neighborhood is still wet. I wonder if the pumps are working yet. The locals tell me that the pumps can’t be tested until there is water in the neighborhoods. And, since they’ve been having a drought this year, all the pumps may not be tested yet. Strange things you have to worry about when you live below sea level. I’m concerned that the rain water alone from a hurricane in the Gulf might re-flood parts of the city. Hopefully not enough to break the levees… but maybe enough to mess up houses that have just been refinished. :(

In other news, a team from Minnesota is here right now (along with Austin, TX and Tuscaloosa, AL). I… try not to laugh when they talk because they’re accent is so… sing-songy that I feel like they’re speaking in limerick or something. Hil-arious.

1 comment July 25th, 2006

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