I'd decided to pace myself so I'd be able to get out of bed tomorrow. And I did! The sun was out and it was about 74 in the heat of the day. Our group of 20 Road Scholars arrived at the job site at 8 a.m. We broke for morning and afternoon snacks and for lunch. Most of the men worked on the flooring for the attic
and most of the women measured and nailed blueboard (form insulation, called Tyvek where we live).
I chatted during breakfast with a woman named Ellen. She's a widow and originally from New Jersey. After her husband died, she wasn't able to get her life going again. She finally went to a therapist, who told her after several visits that she needed to move to a new place and start over. Ellen found a website called "Find Your Spot", where you take a quiz on your interests and preferences. She took a road trip to check out her top four places. She found Fayetteville, Arkansas and told me she really likes it there and yes, starting over had made all the difference for her.
This morning, Ellen was working with the men on the flooring. One of them lost his footing and, when she reached out to help, she fell through unnailed boards to the floor below. The paramedics came and took her to the hospital. We hear tonight that she has a compression fracture of the spine. From what I read online, she'll need bedrest and medication and maybe a brace for a period of time. I hope I read correctly. Apparently this is the first injury the Habitat crew and the Lafayette Road Scholar program have had.
The Habitat crew foreperson is a young woman. Laurie has a degree in architecture and has applied to Tulane to earn her Master's in building design. We talked about the Katrina tragedy in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. She told me many people left the area after the hurricane. Even before then, many of the houses were rentals. After Katrina, the landlords often sold their properties to developers. When people didn't move back, the developers decided not to build. Apparently there's lots of political conversation happening around this, but not much else. I'd thought it might be a racial issue, but apparently it was more economic. At least, that's my understanding now.
Before dinner the group went to the Martin Accordion place. Several generations of Martins build accordions and also play them. I'd thought the idea was a little hokey but instead it was fascinating. The father "Papa", his daughter Penny and his grandson Joel played bass-slide guitar-accordion for us, demonstrating Cajun and zydeco music. Many families have lived in this area for generations, and the music gets passed down. It isn't written down anywhere, though, so you wind up with multiple variations. It was a very cool way to get introduced to the culture of this area.