THE 2009 NEW ORLEANS RUGBY RECOVERY EFFORT

Submitted by Mary Holmes and Suzi Rosen

Photos courtesy of Lauren Pearlman and Colleen Fahey

For a third year volunteers gathered in New Orleans for our Rugby Recovery Effort. This year we worked, for “There’s No Place Like Home” (TNPLH) an agency sponsored by the Jeanie C Linders Fund. The Jeanie C. Linders Fund is committing over a half-million dollars to take “There’s No Place Like Home” nationwide. Working with faith-based community initiative partners and building trade student programs, homes will be constructed for families who lack the resources to rebuild after a natural disaster.

USWRF crew at the There’s No Place Like Home House

Thursday

February 19, 2009

USWRF member hangs a light

We had 20 volunteers arrive at the jobsite eager to work. Paula Young, volunteer coordinator, greeted us for TNPLH. Paula shared the background of the family whose home we would be working. After Katrina, the homeowner, Arlinda Crisler, contracted and paid a friend to rebuild her home. Sadly, her ‘so-called’ friend took her money and ran, leaving Mrs. Crisler unable to repair her home. Now three and a half years later with the help of TNPLN, the JC Linders Fund, and the sweat equity of many volunteers, she is rebuilding. Her new home is a two-bedroom one-bath modular house raised five feet above ground to avoid future floods.

Next Paula introduced us to, Jerry, the construction coordinator for TNPLH who gave us a “wish list” of work needing to be done. Jerry noticed our abundance of tools and after discussing the ‘wish list’ with our leaders (Kathy and Rachel); he gave us the go-ahead to start. We broke into groups and began cleaning, sanding sheetrock, caulking/puttying, installing trim, prepping walls and ceilings for paint, and building permanent stairs and handrails for the two decks. By midday, we had prepped and painted all ceilings and closets walls, finished installing the trim, hung ceiling fans, lights fixtures, and were ready to paint the walls. At the end of the day, we had completed most of the painting and the front stairs were installed. The homeowner, Ms. Crisler, arrived just before we were leaving for the day, she was thrilled to meet us and see how much work had we had done.

Thursday night we went to the legendry Rock and Bowl, where we bowled, danced, and had good fun.

Friday

February 20, 2009

We arrived ready to finish painting and planning to install wood floors. Unfortunately, the flooring was unavailable, so we put our energies toward finishing the painting and completing the stairs and handrails for the decks. By day's end, we had painted all walls/ceilings, prepped all trim, and built the handrails and stairs for both decks. We took some final pictures, loaded our tools, and departed feeling satisfied that we had accomplished so much. Now it was time to celebrate so we headed to the closest daiquiri shop where the Foundation treated everyone to a much-deserved frozen beverage.

USWRF crew at the There’s No Place Like Home House

Saturday

February 21, 2009

We were off to the “Throw Me Something Rugger” Women’s Rugby Tournament where some volunteers traded in their work-boots for cleats playing for Back in Black, while the rest of us cheered on the teams. This year the tournament hosted four collegiate and four club teams. Back in Black defended their crown in the club division while West Virginia University took the collegiate division. Tournament Chairperson Karen Dickie expressed hope the tournament will continue to grow back to its pre-Katrina size of 20 teams. For information, visit the Halfmoon’s website at www.halfmoonsrugby.org.

Saturday evening was a time for a different celebration, Old Girl, Erika Knott’s 50th birthday at a local German Beer Garden. After enjoying German fare and beverages, we strolled down to view the Endymion parade, with Kidd Rock as Grand Marshal.

The US Women’s Rugby Foundation gratefully thanks all the volunteers for all their hard work in making this years effort a success!

We hope you will join us next year! Please keep checking our website for details, or sign up for our e-letter for all the information.