More than five years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, New Orleans is still struggling to rebuild both its structures and its sense of community. Flooding destroyed homes throughout the city and displaced many families to different parts of the country. Many New Orleans natives are still scattered across the United States, and many of those who have returned are living in substandard housing. But many new faces have also moved down to help out and, together with those residents who have returned, they are rebuilding the city. Come join them to help transform the beautiful Crescent City and bring its residents back home!
It is rumored that blues and jazz, the roots of all modern American music, were first played in Congo Square, just outside the French Quarter. Today music still seeps into every part of life in New Orleans. You’ll hear traditional tunes in historic Preservation Hall and experience a world-class local music scene that embraces styles ranging from rock and hip-hop to Cajun. Come let the city’s energy rub off on you and discover what so many musicians sing about.
New Orleans is a vibrant city, and you’ll really have the chance to experience it like a local. When not helping out with the rebuilding efforts, you’ll explore the city’s famous sights, food, music, and traditions. The people of Louisiana celebrate over 500 festivals each year, and you may have the chance to join them for a few of these events while you’re here. The fais dodo, zydeco music, Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, second lines – these are just a few of the traditions that make New Orleans unique. Food is also a particularly integral part of the culture, and the area’s many ethnic influences have contributed to a cuisine exclusive to the Crescent City. Try fresh crawfish, gumbo, seafood po-boys, jambalaya, calas, and alligator while you’re down here!
Help us rebuild this great American city. You’ll work alongside New Orleanians in an effort to bring the city’s residents back and rebuild the community, the surrounding bayou, and the homes that were flooded. You’ll work on service projects with local organizations throughout New Orleans and the surrounding parishes (counties) that range from construction and environmental restoration to community rebuilding and collaboration with local students. New Orleanians sincerely appreciate the work we put in, and we are always welcomed with true Southern hospitality.
You will land at Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans, where your Rustic Pathways staff members will be eagerly awaiting your arrival. From the airport, you will head to our Base in the heart of the city. Here you will enjoy a hot meal and meet the rest of your group. Welcome to the Big Easy!
Don’t waste any time – the community service work will begin right away! Grab a hammer and start working! After work, you will tour New Orleans with the group to see first hand the damage that was done when the city flooded. See where the levees breached, learn how it happened, and get a sense of the level of destruction that currently remains in New Orleans. After a long day, some jambalaya and a good night’s sleep will do you good.
This morning you will pick up right where you left off, building homes for people who need them. Get to know the residents of St. Bernard Parish, a county that was 99 percent destroyed by the floods. In the evening you will cool down by Lake Pontchartrain with dinner and a game of soccer. Then watch the sun set over the lake and head home for some rest.
You will continue working on the service project from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. In the evening, watch a documentary about Hurricane Katrina, its impact, and the recovery process. For dinner, try some craw-fish before heading off to hear some local sounds – maybe a brass band, or a local funk or swing show.
After a long week of service, you will take it easy this morning. Stroll through one of the city’s major shopping areas in the Garden District or check out a festival. After dinner, head to historic Preservation Hall in the French Quarter for a live show.
Go for a walking tour of the French Quarter with your Rustic Pathways staff members and do some souvenir hunting in the French Market. Eat beignets, sample some pralines, and check out Mardi Gras World, where the parade floats are created and stored for the city’s most important festival. In the afternoon, learn some local dance steps accompanied by a live Zydeco band in one of the city’s most famous venues.
Help out in a local school today, giving students a more beautiful learning environment. Many schools have just recently moved out of trailers, and the students are still getting accustomed to the new buildings that are being finished across the city. Paint, plant, and construct new walls, gardens, and murals for the students to enjoy on their way to class. In the afternoon, check out Tulane University, right up the street from the Rustic Pathways Base House! On Mondays, New Orleanians always eat red beans and rice, a local specialty served with a fresh baguette and extra Cajun spice.
After eating breakfast and packing lunch, head down to the bayou to learn about how the wetlands are both an important ecosystem and vital for the Gulf Coast’s hurricane protection. Pull your waders on, get into the swamp, and help save this delicate ecosystem. After lunch, explore the estuary and see some of Louisiana’s wildlife before heading home to a hot meal. You will want to relax this evening – work will start early tomorrow morning!
It’s time to head back to the worksite! For lunch, enjoy one of New Orleans’ famous po-boy sandwiches with fresh Gulf seafood or alligator sausage. After work, stop by the zoo or the city’s aquarium, which holds a giant white alligator, and watch the steamboats glide down the Mississippi.
Continue your service project and talk to the locals about what life is like in the Crescent City. Listen to their stories about the storm and be amazed at the resiliency of New Orleanians. You will also meet volunteers from across the globe who are coming down to help out and learn what brought them here. Tonight, gumbo is on the menu…
Continue your volunteer work and see the tremendous progress that you have made during your stay in the Big Easy. After working hard all day, stop by the snowball stand and try yet another flavor of this local sweet. A barbecue in the evening will be a relaxing end to a week of hard work.
Spend the morning exploring a new neighborhood and learning about the rich European history that makes New Orleans unique. Catch a tour of the Quarter, spend the morning in one of the city’s great museums, or hang out on the Bayou. Check out the city’s local swing scene in the evening.
Attend a concert in the park held in remembrance of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and support the recovery process. You may be lucky enough to be down here during one of the city’s great festivals celebrating Louis Armstrong, Gulf Coast fishing traditions, or Cajun culinary favorites. Take pictures with your new friends and savor your last few days in the city.
Take one final day to volunteer your energy towards the rebirth of this great American city. Finish a project you began last week and take a moment to connect further with the other volunteers and the locals who are so appreciative of all of your support. Go out for one last night in the city, taking in the sounds of a local legend and her funky traditional jazz style.
Spend the morning with the friends that you’ve made in the neighborhood where you’re staying and enjoy one last hearty New Orleans meal before you return home and share your experiences and photos with your friends and family.
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
The students will be within the city limits of New Orleans for most projects and cultural activities, although some activities (local festivals, occasional projects) may be in neighboring towns or parishes (counties). The group will stay at the base in the city every night, and no day trip will be outside Southern Louisiana.
Snacks, souvenirs, and other shopping excursions are not included, but all meals will be offered.
They will be eating most meals at home base. Breakfast is usually cereal or bagels, and students will pack their own sandwiches for lunch in the mornings. Dinner will consist of local specialties (jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, ect.) and American favorites. Groups occasionally go out to restaurants to experience local cuisine, which is covered in the trip cost. Meals overall are high-energy and nutritious, many times made with locally grown vegetables and regional ingredients.
The Rustic Pathways students will be able to drink water from the tap during this program, but they will have the option to buy bottle water if they prefer. As New Orleans is in a hot climate, we require that every student has a refillable water bottle on hand at all times to stay hydrated.
Students will be staying at the Rustic Pathways home base each night, in bunk beds with separate quarters for boys and girls. They will have access to hot showers and
Spring Break students will not be able to do laundry while on the trip, and should bring enough clothing for the week. Summer Program students will be able to send their laundry out to wash-and-fold service once, halfway through the trip. Laundry usually costs about $10/load (about 13 pounds of laundry).
Although we keep pretty busy during the trip, we do have down time. Feel free to bring your instrument if it is small and easy to carry – New Orleans has been known to inspire musicians to play. We usually have a guitar on hand. Rustic Pathways is not responsible for lost or stolen instruments.
Yes. Rustic Pathways takes many precautions to ensure our students’ safety. Students are never in the city unescorted by Rustic Pathways staff. Rustic Pathways provides our own transportation and therefore, with the exception of the occasional trolley ride, never utilizes public transportation. We avoid potentially dangerous areas, and students are closely supervised during evening concert events; we do not allow students to leave Rustic Pathways property unescorted.
Contact Us: For more information about Rebuilding New Orleans - Summer you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebuilding New Orleans - Summer combines well with the following programs.
Ages: 15 to 18 years old
Length: 15 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 72 hours awarded
Airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Tue||Availability|
|11 Jun||25 Jun||Sold Out|
|25 Jun||9 Jul||Sold Out|
|9 Jul||23 Jul||Sold Out|
|23 Jul||6 Aug||Sold Out|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now