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My New Orleans Service Trip Experience

Posted on 3/25/2019 1:21:13 PM by Ayannah McIlwain

During spring break I had the chance to travel to New Orleans with Campus Ministry for a service trip. I must say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my time here at Cabrini. On this trip, the group was able to grow individually and collectively while simultaneously being humbled through the efforts of our work.

students in front of Mother Cabrini statue

There were 9 students and two adult leaders that went on the trip. Over the course of  4 days, we spent time building a home with Americorps and the St. Bernard Project that will be sold to a family who was affected by Hurricane Katrina. Our work included installing drywall and painting a separate house that was in the final stages of completion.

We stayed at a place called Camp Hope which was in the Lower Ninth Ward of the city. The camp is actually a remodeled high school that was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. It was then improved to host volunteers who come to the area to help rebuild the city and its homes.

Along with volunteering, we had two free days to just explore the city. On our first free day, we went to a jazz Catholic mass service. Not being Catholic, I have only experienced one other mass service, so it was extremely cool to see the difference in culture while still observing the same religion. We also went to a museum that brought to life the tradition of Mardi Gras and gave historical information on Hurricane Katrina. There were many facts and details on the aftermath of the storm that most people wouldn’t even think about.

It was the week before Mardi Gras, so we got to experience the fun parades and decorative floats. The streets were crowded with hundreds of natives and tourists ranging in age from young to old. The culture of New Orleans is so beautiful and celebratory. We even got to try authentic New Orleans food like jambalaya, gumbo, beignets, and po boys.

Overall it was an amazing experience, volunteering really shows you another side of yourself that you may not have known was there. It was a trip that I will never forget and I can’t wait to go back!