You should be aware that the major damage to New Orleans was not caused by Hurricane Katrina, but rather by the flooding caused by the failure of the levees. Not all of the schools re-opened after Katrina. In some cases, mobile units have been set up to create schools where there wasn’t one before. For example, Sarah T. Reed Elementary and Fannie C. Williams Elementary consist entirely of mobile trailers.
At Benjamin Banneker Elementary, students have made a paper chain that will circle the entire cafeteria that will be used for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday.
How dramatic is the change for the New Orleans school system? According to a USA Today article from September:
More than 32,000 students have enrolled in New Orleans public schools this fall, down from 64,000 students that attended pre-Katrina, according to state school officials. And 81 of the city’s 128 public schools have reopened — either in their own buildings or in temporary trailers — since the storm.
If you’re volunteering at one of the schools, you’ll be heading out of the downtown area and may get a closer look at the lingering effects of the flood. For example, near Sarah T. Reed High School, there is a Six Flags amusement park, which has been shut down since the storm. Weeds are growing up through the asphalt.
As mentioned previously, The Gospel Music Channel will be in New Orleans, giving away a two-week supply of food to 800 local families, as well as backpacks filled with school supplies and musical instruments. Gospel singer Patrice Wilson will be performing.
(Trivia note: Rex Humbard — father of The Gospel Music Channel’s founder and President Charlie Humbard — was the first evangelist to have a weekly national television program and he officiated at Elvis Presley’s funeral.)