Sometimes bad stuff happens so you close the door to your neighbors. But after Robert Green lost his mother and granddaughter in Hurricane Katrina (they slipped from him from a rooftop), the whole tragic experience made him open his front door wider. He spoke tonite at Riverdale, a few months after the 10-year anniversary of the national and personal tragedy of Katrina.
“The more I told the story, the less painful it was.”
In a short film shown about him, the message was: Tell your story, accept your pain, then enjoy the life you have.
He said that Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation helped. “Everyone knows Brad Pitt. Everyone loves Brad Pitt.” But it’s you all, he said – only he said it like ‘y’all’ – the young people who came to volunteer, who made the difference.
He really praised the young people. “The world’s not going to hell in a hand basket. This is going to be a great world because of y’all.”
He misses his mother. Yes, he misses his granddaughter, but he sees her in the spirit of children who come to volunteer. And the kids from Riverdale who, like so many, have done so much.
“I’m only as strong as the people who’ve helped me.”
He’s moved to permanent housing from a FEMA trailer. “And even when it’s cold and rainy, I still leave the door open.” Neighbors return to the Lower Ninth Ward. And he considers all of us his neighbors.