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SCRIPT:(Locator: New Orleans, Louisiana)
Sharon Young: “I tried to live in Texas, but I felt so lonely. There is no city like New Orleans.”
Returning home has been tough for those displaced when Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans. Sharon Young’s blood pressure is up.
Sharon Young: “I'm dealing with a lot of stress.”
Young turned to the volunteer staff of a free clinic in the still-gutted Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. Luke’s House was founded after Katrina wiped out seven of the city’s 11 hospitals.
Doctor to client: “So all those side effects people worry about with blood pressure medicine, this doesn’t do any of that. Also it’s cheap. It’s just four bucks.”
Sharon Young, Luke’s House Client: “Sometimes I have to visit a doctor and go into my bill money.”
Pamela Harris is a volunteer and a patient.
Pamela Harris, Luke’s House Volunteer: “I feel like a lot of people don’t realize that a lot of people without health insurance… it’s a lot of students, you know?”
Lester Bridges brought a bag of empty pill bottles to show the doctor.
Lester Bridges: “This is the antibiotic they gave me for my teeth. This is my asthma...”
The medications expired in 2007, the year he lost his job as a city worker.
Lester Bridges, Luke’s House Client: “I don’t have any medicine. I just need to see a doctor.”
Erica Washington, Luke’s House Volunteer: “Sometimes people just want an ear, just for someone to lend an ear.”
Volunteer Erica Washington says clergy are always on hand to pray with those seeking emotional support.
The Reverend Will Thiele explains how Katrina transformed the people of New Orleans, and the mission of many churches.
The Rev. Will Thiele, Harpeth United Methodist Church: “A lot of us that had no contact with our poor neighbors couldn’t just stay separate anymore. Everybody was going through the same things. Everybody was kind of leveled by Katrina.”
Kay Renar, Mt. Zion United Methodist Church: “We have people in this church who aren’t even in their homes yet, but come out here because they know that someone is less fortunate than they are because they have a roof and the other person may not have a roof.”
Sharon Young: “People are very sweet, they treat you real kind. They don’t make you feel like you're just a bum off the street begging or whatever, you know? Beautiful!”
In partnership with the clinic, United Methodist churches also run a food pantry and collect books for children.
Luke’s House operates two hours a week with a goal of helping clients find long-term care options available in the community. For more information, call 504-444-7879 or visit the website.
Posted: August 17, 2010