On last year’s trip, our colleague, Barbara Thomas, had a chance meeting with a life-long New Orleans native who witnessed unfathomable horrors when the levees broke. Mr. Rene Penny works – seven days a week – as the head cook at the Hotel Monteleone. His shift began this morning at 7:00 a.m. and he finished at 10:00 p.m., afterwhich, he stopped by our hotel to visit and share his deeply emotional experiences with Kathryn, Janelle, Maria, and me. With his utterly gracious permission, Janelle was able to videotape his visit with us. For an hour and a half, he talked and answered questions. From him, we continue to learn so much about the New Orleans that once was, versus the one that struggles to heal. Kathyrn will soon post that “interview” for all of you faithful readers to experience yourselves. His stories are shocking and devastating, yet, for all that he has endured, he emanates a very powerful faith and a tremendous strength of spirit. He helps us to understand what really happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the words of Kathryn, Rene is “living history”… Although he has finally reclaimed his home, his wife and two daughters (11 and 14) remain in Altanta, where the girls have the opportunity for good schooling. Four years after the city was consumed by the flood waters, there is only one school up and running. Rene looks forward to the day, when he can be reunited with his family in a city that is restored to – or at least reminiscent of – his beloved native home. We were all so deeply touched by his open heart, his honesty, and his courage. Thank you, Barbara Thomas, for leading us to this incredible human being. And thank you, Mr. Rene Penny, for teaching us just how far the human spirit can reach.