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:

Hi, my name is Mary Margaret. I'm a junior Philosophy major. As the Painted Turtle Farm coordinator, I have a passion for social justice and environmental sustainability. Although I spent much of my life in Kentucky, my home and my heart is in New Orleans. To me, a wedding means a second line, a family reunion means a crawfish boil, and Sunday morning means fast walking through the French Quarter late for mass at the Cathedral. Before Katrina hit, I thought "bayou" was a funny word, not the reason my brother's house may not get flooded.  Before, I didn't yet count the number of blue tarp houses I saw when flying into the Louis Armstrong Airport; the Superdome was a venue not a safe haven; I didn't know the word FEMA; I didn't know how to read spray-paint Xs that marked the city's shotgun houses like the angel of death had passed over them. Four years after, my best friend's mom would tell me the city smelled like poor people. Whatever that smells like, I don't know. But let me tell you this: you will fall in love with New Orleans. You'll understand why people refused to evacuate - and that'll hit you harder than a hurricane. Trust me dawlin', there just ain't no place like it.