With the day came news to the entire group of the thefts and, unfortunately, several additional iPods were found missing. We reported the incidents to Operation Helping Hands, the other building occupants, and will have to append our police report to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Regardless, everyone was out on time, headed to St. Ray’s and then on to their respective work sites.

I went in a bit late, because one of the students had to pick-up a prescription. Dropping her off gave me a chance to visit one of the groups working on a new, energy efficient home in Gentilly. I spent a while helping them move tools and supplies out of the house in anticipation of the next stage of work. Then I preceded over to the house our group was working on in Treme. We continued caulking, priming and painting. We broke for lunch and went to unpromising looking gas station in Gentilly. Jimmy’s Discounts advertised the largest po-boys in New Orleans, which to me sounded like promising the world’s best cup of coffee. I think Julia sent us there because she knew would score some leftovers. We were not left wanting. I ordered a fried shrimp po-boy, fully dressed; it was at least 14 inches long and had about a pound of shrimp on it. The cost: $7.99. I ate half of it and passed the rest on to Dan who I think passed it on to Julia. I think we might be back with better plans to share sandwiches.

We got into some heavy duty painting and trim work while Julia worked on replacing some rotten boards, particularly nearer the ground. The owner, Miss T, told us the water only came up to the top of steps as Treme, while not as high above ground as the French Quarter to the south is still at or above sea level. Still, the lack of power following Katrina forced her to evacuate to Arkansas and then Dallas. She was so anxious to come home that she did so weeks before all services returned. And while home, she misses many of her neighbors who settled elsewhere. I suspect she is approaching 80, but she’s still got a lot of fight and opinions in her. And to prove it, when she determined that the trim paint offered by Operation Helping Hands did not suit her, she went to Lowe’s, picked out colors, and bought the ones she liked.

After showers and a change of clothes, the whole group collected at the Praline Connection on Frenchmen Street for our annual, traditional Creole dinner. The students were spectacularly adventuresome as they sampled alligator and crawfish alongside gumbo file, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and collard greens. Most went around the corner to Cafe du Monde, while I walked over with one of the students to Preservation Hall where Shannon Powell and Preservation Hall-Stars were performing. There was a light rain which kept the crowd down a bit and we were able to squeeze into the second show. When I saw Steve Pistorious on piano, I knew I had to stay for the final set. And seated on the floor next to the band, we were not disappointed. Although the standards were seasoned with a heavy dose of camp, Steve and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown on trumpet were spectacular.

We walked back to the car in a light rain and made our way back the West Bank. Happily, things were quiet and with a new day of work ahead of us, most of us chose to go to bed.