New Orleans, LA (St. Bernard Project)

Mar 3rd, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Cost: $775.00 Partner Organization(s): St. Bernard Project Service Type: Housing, human services Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

We will be leaving Charlottesville on Friday and completing half of the drive, stopping in Chattanooga for the night. On Saturday, we will complete the second half of the drive from Chattanooga to New Orleans. For the return trip, we will drive the whole way on Saturday. Katie and David will both have cars, so they will be used for transportation while in the city. If one of our participants is willing to drive, we will also consider taking a third car, but this is not necessary.

Throughout the week, we will be staying at the India House Hostel. This hostel is walking distance from Jazz Fest, City Park, and it is also minutes from the French Quarter since it lies on the Canal streetcar line.

Overall, participants should be eager to work hard and play hard too! During the day, we will be working with our partner organization, the St. Bernard Project, but in the afternoons we plan to explore the city as much as possible!

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. Since 2006, they have rebuilt over 600 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 architectures, musics, foods, and just cultures 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 the city has seen a drop in both population and economy.  However, in recent years New Orleans seems to be back on the rise and slowly but surely recovering from the devastating storm.

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 under water and breaches in the Industrial Canal flood protection system created violent currents that caused structural damage to many buildings. To this day, there are still families and residents of New Orleans that cannot repair the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Recreational Activities:

The first three days after arrival in New Orleans will find us taking a Bayou tour, a walking tour of the French Quarter, and a driving tour of the lower 9th ward.  We will learn about New Orleans and the area in which we are staying early in the trip so that we have some more background knowledge as the week progresses.  We also plan to go to Mardi Gras World.  This is where many of the Mardi Gras floats are made before they are paraded around the city, and it should be pretty cool to tour.  Other recreational activities include the Clue Carre Escape Game and a jazz concert at Preservation Hall.  The Escape Game is a fun activity where the whole group is locked together in a room and must solve an overarching puzzle consisting of smaller puzzles to escape.  Preservation Hall is a famous musical venue in the French Quarter known for its traditional jazz productions.  Of course we will also be spending a lot of time walking around the amazing city and enjoying the terrific food New Orleans has to offer.

About the Site Leaders:

Katie is a 3rd year Biomedical Engineering major from New Jersey. Last year she participated in the trip to Nicaragua and now can’t wait to continue her ASB experience as a site leader! She loves traveling, trying new foods, and country music!. Although she has never been to New Orleans, she is super excited to get to explore the city with a new group of people!

David is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering major with minors in Engineering Business and Computer Science.  He is from the Boston area and went on the Nashville ASB trip last spring.  David is a huge sports fan and also participates in a variety of groups at school such as Virginia Consulting Group and Engineering Outreach.  He, too, has never been to New Orleans, but is very excited to learn more about the NOLA culture and experience all it has to offer.

ASB Testimonials:

Going to Nicaragua with ASB was probably one of the best experiences I have had at UVA so far. Not only was I able to volunteer with a great organization, but I was able to experience the culture first hand. During our time in Nicaragua, we stayed at our site contact’s beach house, which was right in the middle of the local community. There we were able to talk with the locals and truly get a sense of what their daily life is like. I think that is definitely the best thing about ASB. While on the trip you can fully immerse yourself in a different community while providing services that will hopefully help them in the future. — Katie

My ASB trip to Nashville was the most fulfilling thing I have done at school.  I enjoyed being able to immerse myself in the Nashville culture and learn all about the school systems there.  It was also incredible to see how passionate everyone was about improving the school systems and doing everything possible to ensure the best education and childhood for the children of Nashville.  Exploring a really cool city with great music was just an added benefit. — David