Radical Joy Revealed
October 21, 2015

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe.

Courtney MIles, Hurricane Katrina hero. Photo by Sophie Maher
As we remember the devastation of Hurricane Katrina ten years ago, here is a story about one young man who saw an opportunity in the crisis to step beyond old limitations and do something wildly generous.
Courtney Miles, 18, was a high school drop-out. He lived alone, squatting in the abandoned house of his mother, who was in jail for dealing drugs. Most days he spent his time on the basketball court. He scrounged for food where he could. On September 1, 2005, as waters from the broken levee started rushing through the neighborhood, he was walking around with his friends, just checking things out.

Suddenly he knew he had to act. They would go to the bus station, he told his friends. They would get buses and pick people up. At the depot, deserted because of the storm, they commandeered eight buses. Then they drove around town, collecting stranded people. Miles couldn't leave anyone behind. "I was already full," he told a reporter. "They were running toward the bus, smacking the windows. So I was like, 'Just get in where you fit in.'" Some of the renegade drivers took their passengers all the way to Houston, where shelters were being set up. Miles headed for Lafayette. When he arrived at the shelter there, he had a slice of pizza, then turned around and drove right back to New Orleans, this time supplied with a gas credit card donated by a stranger. In the end, he rescued about 400 people. He worried for a while that he might be arrested for stealing a bus, but he ended up a hero. "Whether it's right or wrong, I felt it was right," he said.

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Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth. 
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