New Orleans Student Immersion Service Program
Over the Thanksgiving break, twenty-one SHP students including myself traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana where we experienced the lively and warmhearted culture of NOLA. On our first full day, we attended mass at the oldest African-American Catholic Church where all of the locals knew each other and belted out the Christian songs with the talented and soulful choir like they were at a concert of their favorite band. After this uplifting mass, we took a trip down to the lower ninth ward which was hit the hardest by Hurricane Katrina and where the poorest of New Orleans live. We spent the rest of the day roaming around the French Quarter getting our palms read by some locals and purchasing some souvenirs, walking through the Hurricane Katrina museum, and experiencing a typical NOLA festival with all of their authentic food and music and listened to a wonderful New Orleans local speak about the history and beautiful culture of the city. For dessert that night we of course ate some beignets unfortunately not from Café Du Monde but they were still very delicious being covered in powder sugar.
For the next three days, we were split up on two worksites of soon to be home for two wonderful families who were affected by Hurricane Katrina and recovered and then was hit by a tornado this past February. Together, we helped finish these homes by installing flooring and painting and we finished our tasks quickly while making sure everything was perfect. One of the families returned back home already because of the work we accomplished.