It’s our third week here and the columns that form the main structure of the house are finally in. We’re still getting settled here in New Orleans and finding our way around town. We’re also getting used to the site trailer meetings. We’ve set up a trailer as a site office down in the Lower Ninth, since there is nothing left standing in the whole neighbourhood to use as an office. This trailer is tight — but it helps that it’s air-conditioned. I’ve never seen such a small place so busy. There are three other houses started in the project now and we are using our trailer as a meeting place for everyone.
If anything is consistent here it’s the weather. Every afternoon at about 1:00pm there’s a thunderstorm. And not the kind of storm I’m used to. These are like mini-hurricanes — torrential rain that blows in out of a clear blue sky soaks everything and then is gone leaving blue sky as if it had never happened. The humid weather after the storm is unbearable.
It makes pouring the concrete for the column forms a challenge, so things have been a little delayed. The rain complicates the forming, just like the never-ending heat does. I can’t believe the heat. I find myself hoping we get some sunny — no, overcast days (it’s a little cooler when the sun isn’t directly on you!) or this house won’t be done in time. We’ve got a deadline looming ahead of us: we promised the house would be ready for the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and we mean to keep that promise.
That’s complicated a bit by the fact that we’ve decided to put a second story on this house for Gloria and her grandchildren. All of the other houses in this project will be one story but there just wouldn’t be enough room for this family of five in a two-bedroom home. As much as this will be better for the family it’ll also make our deadline much tighter. We can’t risk anything going wrong.