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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tryin' to be the Shepherd: Part 2

December 19th:

9PM- The Pro Bono Program of the University of North Carolina School of Law is pleased to report that the French Quarter is operational.

December 20th:

9 AM: Arrive at the Pro Bono Project. We spend a good part of the morning organizing files and getting into groups to head out to various downtown law firms that have donated space for us to work. Yesterday, the office of the Pro Bono Project, with around 20 people working, got a little claustrophobic as the day wore on.
9:45: Learn how to construct the boxes we purchased at Staples before the trip. Buell and I construct 10 such boxes.
10:15: Arrive at Barasso and Usdin to start work. Most of the work we do is much the same as yesterday- calling clients and the attorneys that volunteered to help them to check on the status of the cases. The range of cases today is much wider than yesterday, though. Lots of bankruptcies and disputes with the VA. We talk to a few more attorneys who have lost most of the physical infrastructure of their business, but press on from their homes or the homes of relatives.
12:30 PM- Lunch downtown. We ate in yesterday, so we didn't see downtown around lunchtime. We're relatively heartened to have to wait about 20 minutes for a table at a lunch place- there are lots of people still out and about.
1:30- Back at Barasso, Neil, who is a New Orleans local, advises us that tomorrow when we leave to go West on I-10 for dinner, we should plan on about an hour and a half for the trip. The reason is that no one lives downtown anymore, and not many people live in the city proper. So, the traffic, which was fairly bad before, is even worse because there are so many more people heading to the suburbs each night.
3:30- Head back to the Pro Bono Project, just a short walk from Barasso. As we walk we talked a little about last night. While we were driving around looking for the French Quarter (no we won't stop for directions, yes we will turn the wrong way down a one-way street, no I wasn't driving at the time), we passed the Convention Center on the waterfront. Along with the Superdome it was used as a shelter during Katrina. Its interesting, as well as a little eerie, to get a real contextual map of where all these places are in relation to each other. Also last night, a singer at the bar asked the people in it to raise their hands if they were there "rebuilding the city," and nearly everyone in the room was. Apparently, the locals are still not going out downtown very much at all.


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