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AFT Union Summer – New Orleans photos

August 27, 2008 pm31 7:36 pm

I didn’t know what to do this summer.

I got caught doing lots of work for my school. So I thought about applying to the AFT’s Union Summer program. I figured that I wouldn’t have to plan anything, the work is work I wanted to do, and wherever I was, there would be some relaxing time as well. The other options involved more planning… so I applied. And was accepted. My surprise was ending up in New Orleans, but that was a good surprise.

While there the ten of us (from NY, PA, IL, and CA) did three kinds of work.

  • We went door to door with United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO) organizers, talking to (and in some cases signing up) charter school teachers.
  • We helped publicize, prepare for, set up, work at, and clean up a big back to school fair (there was food, entertainment, immunizations, an insectarium, school supplies including book bags, and books, all free).
  • And we helped clean up, paint, and set up rooms in several New Orleans schools.

We also tooled around New Orleans, taking in some sights, visiting the 9th ward, enjoying good food and entertainment.

Photos below the fold —>

A classroom we helped clean and were helping set up (left), and Larry Carter, UTNO president, at the balloon table at UTNO’s back to school event, August 9.

Lower 9th Ward.

L: A city block, overgrown. R: House, unoccupied, but owner intends to return. The white X, eery, was marked immediately post-Storm as National Guard surveyed for dead people and animals.

L. flood-damaged house, yet to be demolished. R. New house, built higher. (Is the old house part of the foundation?)

Live Oaks Plantation.

As a teacher I am used to going on field trips to museums and sites that have professional staff, National Parks guides, high quality docents, trained interpreters. This plantation had none of that, which was a major disappointment. From a property map on the wall we learned that the plantations were narrow rectangles, with a small amount of Mississippi River frontage each. For shipping, I’d guess.

Grand Isle.

The Last day we ventured down Bayou Lafourche to Grand Isle. On the island, almost everything was built on one story or story-and-a-half stilts. The crab on the beach was dead. And the beach stank, and was thick with aggressive mosquitoes. At sunset there was a weird mix of lights from boats and oil platforms.

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