New Orleans, LA (St. Bernard Project)

Mar 2nd, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Cost: $726.00 Partner Organization(s): St. Bernard Project ( Service Type: Housing / Disaster Relief Number of Participants: 8 participants & 2 leaders

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

We will be staying in the St. Jude Community Center, just blocks away from the French Quarter. The community center is used to house volunteers working to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other natural disasters. The St. Jude Community Center has several floors of bunk-style rooms that we will be sleeping in. We will also receive breakfast, a bagged lunch, and dinner each day.

We will be driving as a group to Knoxville, Tennessee on the afternoon/evening of Friday, March 2nd and finishing our drive on Saturday the 3rd. We will be returning to Charlottesville very late on the night of Saturday, March 10th. While in New Orleans, we will be using two cars to get around the city and to/from our worksite each day.

Participants should be willing to work hard and get dirty! We will definitely be doing some hard manual labor, but it will be awesome to have a concrete representation of the difference that we are making in the lives of the people we serve. Participants should also be prepared to have great memories exploring New Orleans and getting to know each other!


Service Activities:

Throughout the trip, we will be working with the St. Bernard Project. This organization focuses on the rebuilding and repair of homes that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. Since 2006, they have rebuilt over 700 homes in the New Orleans area. We plan on volunteering from 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM doing various construction jobs that could range from hanging drywall to painting a house.


Regional Background:

The New Orleans area is a very unique region of the United States.  The city itself contains a wide mix of different architecture, musics, food, and culture in general.  A large portion of the city is French, but there are also Spanish and Creole roots all throughout the area.  New Orleans is well known as a lively, fun city with jazz on every corner.  It is most famous for the Mardi Gras celebrations in which there are lots of huge parades, masquerade balls, and parties.  This goes on for about two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday.

New Orleans is one of the largest port cities in the United States and in the world.  This is obviously the biggest part of New Orleans’s economy, but the city also thrives on oil refining and gas production.  Since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the city has seen a drop in both population and economy.  In addition, New Orleans experienced a terrible tornado in February of 2017 that destroyed hundreds more homes. Through the hard work of the New Orleans community and volunteers like ourselves, the city is on its way to a full recovery!


Community Background:

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area, leaving a massive amount of destruction in her path. In fact, it was one of the costliest and most fatal hurricanes in US history. A majority of the city was left underwater, and breaches in the Industrial Canal flood protection system created violent currents that caused structural damage to many buildings. The tornado in February of 2017 simply added insult to injury. Each week, the St. Bernard Project receives an average of 15 calls from New Orleans residents who need their help. Even today, twelve years later, an estimated 3,000 families in New Orleans do not have the funds or resources necessary to rebuild their homes and their lives.


Recreational Activities:

Because of our early morning volunteer schedule, we will have plenty of time for recreational activities! Some highlights include a walking tour of the French Quarter, a picnic lunch in one of New Orleans’ beautiful parks, a driving tour of the Lower 9th Ward, dinners in the French Quarter, a visit to Preservation Hall for a Jazz concert, beignets at Cafe du Monde, a bayou tour, lots of ice cream, and a trip to Mardi Gras World!


About the Site Leaders:

Alec is a 3rd year in the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy from Norfolk, Virginia (757!!). Last year, he was a participant on the Pensacola trip and had an amazing time working with Habitat for Humanity. Alec loves Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee, Boylan Nachos, and UVA Basketball – you can always find him camped outside of JPJ hours before the doors open. At school, Alec is a member of the Hoo Crew Committee, Relay for Life Exec, and is co-outreach chair for ASB with Meredith! He has never been to New Orleans but can’t wait to eat his weight in beignets and show off his handy-man skills!

Meredith is a 3rd year from Malvern, Pennsylvania studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in French. Meredith was also a participant on the Pensacola trip last year, which is where she met Alec! She is passionate about chicken nuggets, UVA men’s tennis, and quoting every line of the movie Elf . Around grounds, Meredith is the Vice President of Club Tennis, a PD for Madison House Holiday Sharing, is a member of Engineering Student Council, and is an ASB outreach co-chair with Alec! She, too, has never been to New Orleans, but she is super excited to explore the city and get her hands dirty with SBP!