Friday, September 14, 2012

Recovering from Hurricane Isaac

Last week during the 7th anniversary of hurricane Katrina, New Orleans experienced another significant weather event: Hurricane Isaac.  While the storm caused extensive flooding and damage in several nearby parishes, the damage in Orleans parish thankfully was limited to minor flooding, fallen trees, and downed power lines.  The thoughts and prayers of the staff, faculty and scholars at LHA are with those who experienced pain or loss in any form as a result of the storm.

The garden lost a picnic table - fortunately the worst of the damage.
Here at the Dreamkeeper garden we did everything we could think of to prepare for the storm.  We packed up tools and signs, turned over picnic tables and benches, and even made an emergency indoor shelter for our chickens.

The chickens weathered the storm inside, and are doing just fine! 
As the storm approach the announcement went out: school would be cancelled all week.  With Labor Day the following Monday, scholars went 10 full days without one day in school.  When we arrived back last Tuesday we hit the ground running.  Scholars and Dreamkeepers immediately got to work helping the garden recover.  We raked debris from paths, staked fallen fruit trees and edible plants, and replaced benches and tables.

A scholar and a Dreamkeeper work together to replace
tree stump seats that hurricane Isaac knocked over
Luckily for us we had our first Open Garden Day of the year planned for September 8th.  On Saturday, we received volunteers from Louisiana Delta Service Corps, City Year New Orleans, Junior League of New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans Outreach, and Hands on New Orleans.

A group of volunteers harvests basil from damaged plants
Some volunteers pruned, pulled and harvested from damaged basil plants that had been knocked on their sides or uprooted by wind gusts of 80 mph or more.  Others deconstructed garden beds, pulling nails and removing wooden frames to reconfigure the garden as part of our long-term design.

Another group worked on our garden expansion, weeding and re-forming lasagna layer rows whose shape had eroded from the wind and heavy rains.

With the help of our whole garden community - scholars, Dreamkeepers and volunteers - our garden looks as good as new, and ready for the upcoming fall planting season.