Headwaters Relief Organization volunteers traveled to Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, from August 24 to 29, 2010, to assist in the recovery from the Gulf Oil Spill. This was Headwaters’ second trip to Plaquemines Parish, having been there in September 2008, in response to Hurricane Gustav. The volunteers’ intension was to provide mental health support to people in the area and otherwise, to support the community, painting and cleaning. The volunteers coordinated their efforts with Father Gerry Stapleton of Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Plaquemines Parish.
Returning to New Orleans, the volunteers participated in the Upper Ninth Block Party. Along with partners, Headwaters sponsored this community event which included free mental health screenings, free blood pressure and diabetic screenings, a drumming circle, and other events planned for families and children. There was a great turnout and the event brought the community together on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The following is a reflection on the trip by Kari Reinhart, a Program Administrator with Orion Associates.

New Orleans: Five Years Later
Five years after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the levees broke, the community continues to regain momentum and build its way back, one project at a time. Homes are being rebuilt, lives are being put back together, the community is building strength, and last January the New Orleans Saints took the title of Super Bowl Champions! The nation has rallied around and supported the area during the oil spills and the hardest hit areas are beginning to look more habitable than they have in the past, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. We have been providing mental health services in the Ninth Ward since 2007. This has expanded to community outreach and a safe and fun place for the children of the area to spend their time. We are continuing to offer movie night and monthly mental health suppor,t along with phone support as needed to our on-going clients of the center. We look forward to more opportunities in the area, for both on-going support and rebuilding assistance as needed. We thank all of our partners who have helped us make these contributions possible over the past five years.

Donations to the Headwaters Relief Organization can be made payable to the Headwaters Relief Organization Fund, and all donors will receive a charitable tax deduction receipt in the mail. In order to donate, please contact Cheryl Vennerstrom, at 763-450-5007, or e-mail her at cvennerstrom@orionassoc.net.

All tax deductible donations to the Headwaters project should be made to the:

Headwaters Relief Organization Fund
9400 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, Minnesota 55427

Headwaters Relief Organization
Gulf Oil Spill Relief Trip
Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
Judy Breyfogel, Alicia Corbett, Marya Hage, Suzie Hatcher, Jessica Jindra, Becky Jurek, Kallen Kenyon, Meghan Shields, Patty Smith, Father Gerard P. Stapleton, Alexander Thomley, Luke Thomley, Rebecca Thomley, Cheryl Vennerstrom