I think the shelter is holding about 360 people now and it is a definitely amazing experience to be a part of. I spent the day dealing with many issues from crowd control, organizing supplies, getting clients blankest, playing with kids, pushing wheelchairs, setting up TV's and talking with clients. I heard stories from and about many people. Families who tried to drive out of New Orleans and but got stuck, stories about the flood water burning the skin of people who were trying to stay out of harm's way in their attic, wading through waist high water in New Orleans and people doing things they really knew they wouldn't do in a typical situation.
Tension is running high amongst the clients. It is really hard for people to have to leave the place they were feeling at home in when they have already had to leave their real homes. It is interesting to see the very few Caucasian and Hispanic people mixed in with a majority of African Americans. Much different racially than the mix in Seattle. But kids are playing and families are talking and doing laundry. All this and we are sitting here in a gym waiting for a hurricane to hit. We may have to spend the night in the shelter because of Rita.
Dinner was one of the highlights of the day today people were very frustrated about others cutting in line and being disrespectful. Hearing that beginning tomorrow meals were going to be organized by the National Guard and the Police due to the chaos that ensued this evening. It is amazing to have the national guard in the shelter. There presence is beginning to feel normal to me which in some ways is sad. One child told me that he didn't like that the military have such big guns with them - he said it made him worry they were going to start shooting. I assured him they wouldn't and that they were here for the protection of all of us - not to hurt us. I wonder how many of the kids worry about that?