Thursday, January 12, 2012


In my first year of AmeriCorps, I worked at Operation Helping Hands, the building branch of Catholic Charities-Archdiocese of New Orleans. I didn't really know what I was in for-I applied for a teaching position with Notre Dame Mission Volunteers (under AmeriCorps) and found out that there was only one spot available-in construction. All I knew was that I wanted to live in New Orleans, and the rest was history.

Just recently, just published an article announcing the end of Operation Helping Hands.

So here's my tribute:

Inventing new paint colors
My last paint job on Ursulines, down the street from my apartment. It took me 2 days to make this orange color because I didn't realize the yellow was paint and the red was DYE. I was stuck with some variation of salmon pink for at least 20 trial coats....hey, but it turned out quite nicely.

House on Colapissa St.

We would arrive to Magnolia around the same time our friend got off his night shift at the pumping station. 9am? Time for a beer.....

It's not that fun to lie down on laminate flooring, unless you just installed it!
Ms. Kathy's barbecued chicken and cheesy potatoes.
Texturing at Telemachus St. (pronounced TelemAchus, like Burgundy is pronounced BurgUndy)

This was actually really fun. And throwing texture on the wall hides all your mudding mistakes.

Tiling 101 at Magnolia

The other Colapissa house....two doors down.

Interior/exterior crew at Colapissa 1 (the lemon merangue house)

Franklin St. (Upper 9th Ward)

Caulking at Franklin

Crew from Dayton
When it's raining, or there's not enough work to go around, you get to paint doors at OHH. I thought this picture was artsy.
Drywalling at Telemachus
Painting vinyl siding at Fern...ugh vinyl.
First week on the job, tiling my first kitchen floor, and sweating balls.
Preparing for laminate flooring at Law St.

Painting Zohar's house on S. Rendon. This color was called Krewe de Menthe.

Leaving a hand print on the wall...
Farewell picture...:(
I didn't realize this color was shiny gold until the sun came out. It made me want to paint a big fleur de lis on the side of the house...
Immaculata group
John in the attic
So many ladders
Michigan crew at Telemachus
Need I explain?
This is us at the 7:30 morning meeting. More realistically, 7:43, or 7:55.
The fam.
Mudding at Touro St...
My first paint crew, with Willie...on Peach St in Hollygrove. It was so cold that week the paint froze on our brushes.
After his lady friend identified his house as "that pink house on the corner," our homeowner called us and said he'd buy the new color, but this had to go.
Working with Parkway Partners, we got to landscape for our finished houses. We could do three houses in a day. The relatively instant gratification was nice.
These guys made it into the Catholic Charities magazine.
Russ finally gets to strangle Georgio.
Scraping paint at Ms. Sharon's house on Gentilly Blvd.

Chowing down on Taco Tuesday.
Enjoying the (almost) daily snowball from Stop Jockin, the best place in town.
Posing on the forklift

Finishing up Ms. Kathy's house!

Installing windows at Green Dream II

I got my family to float dirt rock on their Christmas break...
Covered in paint and caulk

You can't tell, but I'm 30 feet up on a ladder jack...that was a scary afternoon.
Final walk-through at Telemachus, just before we handed Alma her key!
Shoveling critters at the OHH Crawfish Boil ("burl), celebrating the end of hell month (spring break season)
Green Dream II