Main Content

Jeanne Menaois

Hope is an unexpected mass of purple flowers poking through a field of weeds near a gutted house.

It's swimming through two story deep water, and finding an open second floor window to climb through.

It's being rescued from a roof top after living there for two weeks.

It's a hot meal to replace the random cans and jars floating by that rooftop.

Hope is the check from FEMA, promised yet still undelivered.

It's the rumble of a sanitation truck that somehow missed the months-old hills of trash that line every street.

Hope is the insurance company deciding that, yes; your moldy, ravaged house has been through enough.

It's the levees being rebuilt correctly.

Hope is a government that cares.

Hope is also groups of volunteers, from Minnesota , California , Massachusetts , Colorado , New York … gutting, hauling, scrubbing, sweating - instantly learning skills they never dreamed they could perform.

Hope is seeing progress made, one rescued house at a time until the next group of volunteers comes to save another.

Hope is Hopper, Isabel, Mike, Petey, Kimber, and the rest of the crew of Project HOPE, abandoning their salaries, their homes and any semblance of stability in order to devote themselves completely to the people of Violet, St. Bernard Township, Louisiana .

It's the distribution centers, stacked with food, clothing, tools and friendly faces, willing to listen to the incredibly brave stories of the remaining residents.

Hope is the French Quarter, standing artsy and proud as ever, Zydeco music and a cup of Café du Monde, a brief but needed respite from a FEMA trailer.

Hope is the rest of America realizing that Louisiana didn't go away. It's not all better.

Hope is what we can give the people of Louisiana , but only if we're willing to help.

Hurricane season is one month away.