Sunday, May 23rd
Our first full day in New Orleans included many fun events and activities that we were able to later reflect on. We joined together as a group and went on the Jean Lafitte bayou tour. This all natural reserve was not affected by Katrina, and it houses an abundance of wildlife and flora. Some of us even had a chance to hold a baby alligator! After the bayou tour, we got to experience a different aspect of New Orleans down in the French Quarter. We enjoyed Cajun cooking, jazz music, and festive art down in Jackson Square. On our way back to Camp Hope, we drove through the Lower Ninth Ward where we witnessed the devastation still present almost five years after Katrina. During the nightly discussion, we shared and debated a variety of opinions and reactions about several issues that had been raised by the day’s events. Debate and discussion ran from such topics as the Make it Right homes funded by Brad Pitt to the structure and strength of the levees, and whether it was even acceptable to driving through the troubled community in the first place. Students expressed concerns, questions, and reflections on their journey thus far.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it was interesting to see what was being rebuilt and what wasn’t.” –Kelly ’10
“I felt like I’d be prepared, but then it just hits me—it’s reality.” –Mario ’13
“Where is the motivation to come back and rebuild? What is there to come back to?” –Alyssa ’10
Everyone left the meeting feeling excited and eager to start their first day of work on Monday. Although many questions were answered, there is still a lot to be learned.