While I enjoyed the little bit of free time my Americorps conference in Pittsburgh allowed, I'm glad to be back home in my bedroom in New Orleans. Pittsburgh in February is a dreary place piled high with soot stained snow and equally damp weather. The people are very nice, and I'd love to see this city during the spring. There's a lot of history there.
We helped out in the very first Carnegie library in the United States. It's a beautiful old gal who's been badly neglected over the past few years. Unfortunately, she's in the center of a town named Braddock, a steel town which has been hit hard by the economy. Once a town of more than 20,000, it now has less than 3,000 residents. To make things even worse, the town's only hospital closed recently, taking more jobs from this already depressed city.
It's hard to return to New Orleans and continue to complain about the recovery. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure we'll all be complaining about something city related tomorrow. But in Braddock, there's such a sense of despair. I can't imagine any parent urging their high school seniors to stay, or encouraging their college graduates to return. The job of bringing the city back seems insurmountable, but they have a dynamic young mayor who's making an effort and as the economy of the country improves, slowly but surely, I'm hoping some good luck will trickle down to Braddock, Pennsylvania.