May 14, 2008
BILOXI - (Editor's note: This is the first of three daily web updates on the Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project.)
The houses on Huff Alley, just off of Division Street, are well under way. Number four's pillars are up, and the insulation is quickly rising. There's been some concern about building materials that the city of Biloxi's building code managers don't approve of.
After about two hours of work, it's time for a break. It's day 2 of the week-long Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, and despite the few hiccups, most worksites seem a well-oiled machine.
This house is sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which granted Habitat for Humanity's Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter $500,000 for the Work Project. The volunteers on this house are from every state, including Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Oakland, Indiana, Washington, Texas, and Georgia.
Over Cheez-its, goldfish crackers and granola bars, conversation ranged from, "I need me a Budweiser," to "You look familiar? Where you in India?" Two years ago, the Carter Work Project was in India, and several of the volunteers are now here on the Coast.
Younger volunteers, including Cassie Merwin, 18, from Ft. Myers, Fla., have been on the roof all morning, laying down plywood. Older volunteers have said they are happy to let the youngsters do it.
Finally, Sheron Jackson, a Houston nurse who's done eight Carter Projects, hollers, "Back to work!" And one by one, the team gets back to the Huff Street masterpiece.
Except Tom Dickinson, from Springfield, Va., who had a nasty blister on his foot. "That's kinda tender," he said, grimacing, as the first aid volunteer popped it. Hopefully, that's the worst injury of the day.
The Habitat for Humanity Carter Work Project runs through Friday in Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport and Diamondhead. The Sun Herald will be reporting live from this event during the day online and in the next day's print edition.