When outreach workers first met Grace Bailey, she couldn’t talk to them, but her vulnerabilities were clear. Grace had just had surgery to repair her face and jaw after a severe beating on the abandoned streets of an abandoned neighborhood. It was obvious to the workers that the surgery sites were infected – puss was oozing freely from her wounds. The antibiotics prescribed by the hospital cost $386 – obviously out of her reach. A hard worker, Grace never thought she would end up here.
Prior to Katrina and the waters that ravaged the city, Grace Bailey was strong and labored hard to make ends meet for herself and her family. In the years prior to Katrina, she worked in both a shrimp factory and in a candy factory. Katrina’s floodwaters ruined both factories and both companies relocated out of the city. Even the temp agency that Grace used to pick up odd jobs to supplement her income had been destroyed. It wasn’t long before Grace, beaten down by the destruction around her, found herself in this deplorable situation.
While the end of August marks the fifth anniversary for Katrina, it also marks the one-year anniversary of Grace’s move into her neat, bright apartment in a quiet little New Orleans neighborhood. She now receives consistent health care at a nonprofit clinic that assists with her medications. While still experiencing some residual pain from her injuries, Grace Bailey luxuriates in her ability to heal in her tidy apartment surrounded by a white picket fence.