New Orleans, Part I

Ok guys, this one is as much for you as it is for me. I think it’s going to be pretty cool to reread this in a few months and do some good reminiscing. Trying to stay true to my word by writing this before the week starts. So here it goes:

This trip started way back before 2012 with an application and an interview. Obviously it all went well and I was accepted. Once we started going with regular meetings, we discussed things about the trip but focused the most on how to raise money for us to go (we are still fundraising by the way). If I’ve got things right, we had to raise about 10,500 for all 15 of us to go on the trip. We did bake sales, a dance, sold sunglasses, the list goes on. The most money came from donators-you guys. Y’all made it possible for us to do what we did.

Fast forward to Saturday March 3rd. We (12 students, 2 student coordinators, and 1 chaperone) got together in one of the residence halls at around 10AM. Before we knew it we were off. We hopped on the T and had a few obstacles. Some of the shuttles to Logan Airport weren’t working, so we had to walk about 1.5 miles to the next train line. We figured it out, and it wasn’t too big of a deal.

A flight to ATL, Georgia with a short connecting flight to New Orleans right after that and we were in NOLA. By the time we got to Annunciation Mission [] (this was the church that we stayed at for the week) we were a bit burned out. We did indeed go out for dinner to a place called Mother’s. It was great Cajun food. I had the crawfish etoufee. ‘Twas great.

On Sunday, we had an off day because the work week started for us on Monday. We went down to Bourbon Street (it’s a place I’d try to go to before I die if I were you) as well as Jackson Square. We saw some pretty good street performers and had a great time. We also had breakfast at Café Du Monde, a place known for their beignets and coffee.

Later that afternoon we went to the Lower 9th Ward, one of the places hit the hardest by hurricane Katrina. This area prior to Katrina was a low-income housing area of town. If I remember correctly, the levees were breached because they were not sunk far enough into the ground and were eventually pushed out by the water that got underneath the concrete. The area was flooded by 10-14 feet of water. Can you imagine that? That’s most likely 2 of you and then some. Once the rescue teams started searching houses, they marked the houses with big Xs. Each side of the X had a meaning. One was the number of dead boddies, the other was the search team’s initials, the other was any toxics and the last was the date it was searched.

Because it was already low income housing many people who’s houses got destroyed never bothered going back. To this day, a majority of the area is covered by wild grasses, and random foundation slabs. With the exception of Brad Pitt’s projects and a house here and there, it is quite a grounding reality.

At the end of the day we returned for a welcoming dinner. The kind folks at the mission prepared us breakfast and dinner each day and it always tasted great! Some of them (there were about 4 people who were there on a consistent basis) shared their stories with us, hopefully I can do them justice by recounting them to y’all later on.

Change of plan here guys, I’ve got a huge exam coming up and laundry sitting in the dryer, so this is what I’m thinking:

I’ll post the pictures that correlate to this post on Wednesday, after 7 pm.

This first entry covers pre-working.

The next entry will cover the days we were working.

The final entry will cover the rest.



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