For the Good of the Gulf: UNC Law Winter/Spring Break Pro Bono Project

Monday, December 19, 2005

Somewhere in Alabama...

I am writing my pre-post at 70 mph on Interstate 65. I can think of nowhere else better to share my expectations for this trip than barrelling down the road with New Orleans only 4 or 5 hours away. I have never been to New Orleans, so my outlook for the coming week is driven by complete uncertainty.

I am uncertain what New Orleans has in store for us. What state is the physical recovery effort? Do stoplights work? Is there an ATM? Will my cell phone work? Also will this be a complete disaster area? I went through hurricanes Floyd and Fran, but in those cases the destruction was small enough that you could drive to someplace normal. The Katrina devastation seems much bigger than that.

Then I wonder about what I am going to face in the New Orleans Pro Bono Project. What will be the state of the people we both work with and work for? Will they be physically and mentally haggard? What do I do if someone breaks down, gets mad, or asks for my advice when I cannot give it to them?

This will be my first chance to deal with real clients after a semester of law school, so I have all the apprehension that comes along with that. I assume that you always are wary of screwing up, but in this case - where it might affect a person’s ability to get back on their feet – I am doubly conscious of the need to do the best job possible in the next week.

But most of all, I worry about actually achieving something worthwhile in a week’s time. With a problem as large as this the common reaction is to be flustered about where to start. The thing is on Friday I will be home, on Friday I will be in the Christmas spirit, but New Orleans will still be there. So for this week I think I owe it to New Orleans be completely in the mind of doing everything I can to help in any way possible. I really hope we can help.


  • Hi Matt,
    Hope it's going well and the stoplights and ATM's work. See you soon,
    Judy Sidden

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:03 AM  

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