My NOLA Days

Over fall break, I went on a Service and Justice Trip to the Duchesne House in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our service was working for the St. Bernard Project, rebuilding homes that have not yet been repaired after Hurricane Katrina. The thing that I enjoyed most about volunteering for St. Bernhard Project was that we were able to see the three different houses at different stages of repair. In the last two days of service, the house we were working on had just started being rebuilt. The first two days, we were all putting the finishing touches on a house. On our last day of service, we were invited to a homecoming celebration for a family whose house was now complete. Seeing three different homes in three different stages of repair made me realize that the St. Bernard Project is with the victims of Hurricane Katrina through every step of the rebuilding process.

The members at the Duchesne House made my experience in New Orleans extraordinary by welcoming us into their community, as well as educating us about the affects Hurricane Katrina had on the city and people of New Orleans. The sisters at the Duchesne House immediately invited us to join in all of their activities, such as daily prayer, meals, and after-dinner games of Catch Phrase. Their welcoming environment quickly made me feel at home in New Orleans. Also, the Duchesne House gave us many opportunities to learn about the city of New Orleans. On the first day in New Orleans, one of the volunteers living at the Duchesne House, Julie, took us on a tour to see the levees and some of the various rebuilding projects around New Orleans. This tour made me extremely excited to being working for the St. Bernard Project. During the evenings, Sister Ann scheduled different events for us to attend so we could see other aspects of New Orleans culture. These activities included a tour of the Saint Louis Cathedral, a visit to the Washitaw Indian tribe chief, a drum lesson at Congo Square, and a tour of a lighthouse that was recently restored after the affects of Katrina. All these activities showed me the rich culture of New Orleans and made me appreciate each different aspect of the culture.

Just as in my previous service trip, I became very close to the other members of my service trip. Over the week, we bonded during the long car rides, daily reflections, and various tasks at our service sites. Every day, I was proud of the work we accomplished and how well we worked together, both in pairs and as a group. Through the endless studs to paint and numerous fiberglass splinters, every member of our group worked diligently to complete each task we were given. Whether we were working on a project together or talking over dinner, I loved getting to know every member of our group. I am so happy that I was able to become friends with each person on my trip and I will always remember them as a key part of the wonderful experience I had in New Orleans.

Michelle Baumann
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant

The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.