Gulf Coast Rebuilding in New Orleans


On August 28, 2005, Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to America's Gulf Coast region. This natural and man-made disaster displaced over one million people and destroyed or damaged 142,000 housing units in New Orleans.


Participants will work with the St. Bernard Project which is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that provides rebuilding, financial and community support to families in St. Bernard Parish, LA. who were displaced and devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Their mission is to break down barriers that hinder families from returning to their homes and communities. The St. Bernard Project provides missing services to the community while connecting families to a larger integrated network of wrap-around services offered in the community. This approach recognizes the interdependent nature of housing, education and community building in the recovery process.



Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Travel to New Orleans; Visit French Quarter; See IMAX film "Hurricane on the Bayou"; Mother's Day parade

Day 2: Tour of French Quarter; Museum for "Katrina and Beyond" exhibit; Service project at Covenant House; Evening cultural activity

Day 3: Work day at Grow Dat Youth Farm; Driving tour of New Orleans

Day 4: Swamp tour; Concert in Lafayette Square

Day 5: Work day at St. Bernard's Project; Crawfish boil in Audubon Park

Day 6: Work day at St. Bernard's Project; Depart for Gettysburg


Project Leader: Melanie Meisenheirmer

Project Leader

I'm a senior Globalization Studies-Public Policy major, and I'm very excited to be leading the Gulf Coast Rebuilding project in New Orleans this May! I grew up in Clovis, CA, where I first began noticing the social implications of race and class. My interest in these issues grew during my time at Gettysburg College and my time abroad in France and Cameroon as I was able to see how different regions and cultures address them. I'm looking forward to working with other students to explore the reasons why Hurricane Katrina was such a disaster, how the rebuilding process has unfolded, how we can do our part to help.