Editor's note: Father Jerry Kramer is the pastor at the Free Church of the Annunciation, an Episcopal church in Broadmoor. Since the levee failures, Kramer's church has ran one of the Gulf Coast's largest Katrina relief centers, serving more than 85,000 people to date. Kramer would be the first to admit that this assistance wouldnt have been possible without the thousands of volunteers that have come to New Orleans rescue.
One of the biggest contributors to Annunciations efforts has been the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois, which made more than 20 trips with volunteers to the New Orleans area. The volunteers brought much-needed supplies, rehabilitated homes and have donated 10,000 books to Broadmoors Rosa Keller Library. Last week, Quincy suffered its own disaster when the Mississippi River overflowed its banks and flooded the town. Yesterday, Kramer and three others from the church left New Orleans to travel to Quincy. This will be the first of many trips for Kramer to Quincy as he and flock return a favor and lend a hand to those in need.
The following is Kramers journal of the trip. For more information about Annunciations mission to Quincy and New Orleans programs, please visit www.annunciationbroadmoor.org
Arrived in Quincy, Illinois at 10:30 p.m. after fourteen hours on the road. With me are Sonya, Mark and Mike. But I feel as though the entire community is with and behind us on this journey. It feels like it's part pilgrimage, part mission trip, part doing what Louisianans do and part adventure into a piece of our own past.
Signs of high water began to appear as we approached St. Louis; ballparks under water, could see just the tops of the backstops. Some of my church members wanted to make the trip but feared their PTSD might flare up when seeing high water; they may well have been right. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to handle all of what might lie ahead. Nearly three years post Katrina I still often dream at night of crying.
We're staying in the home of a delightful senior couple. The spry woman told us not to make our beds in the morning, her job was to "wait on us." Sandbagging starts at 6a in these parts.
While the area floods, people are taking a break from filling sandbags to fill the corner bars. We've been promised beer and music Friday night when our work is done. This would appear to be the perfect fit and sister city for us.