Last Sunday, around 5 in the morning, I headed down South for Spring Break to work with Crawfordsville’s First Christian Church in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans, the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I traveled for the same trip last year along with about 12 other Wabash students. This year however, due to a large number of other spring break immersion trips, only two students, myself and Jared Burris, a junior cross country and track runner (and NOLA trip veteran), were able to go. Luckily, after three athletic seasons and a spring break trip together already, me and Burris are good friends. In addition to the two Wabash students, 4 men from First Christian traveled with us, and we met up with a fifth once we were in New Orleans. The project this year was the installment of a new roof for the son of a friendly pastor in the lower ninth ward.
Right off the bat, we spent the first day of roof demolition in 70-degree weather and sun. The weather ended up being all but perfect, with one day of rain on Tuesday. However even this worked in our favor. Because we had such a small group, and Burris and I had been on the trip before, our schedule was very flexible, and we had the opportunity to do some group activities that we couldn’t have done with a bigger group. For example, on the rainy Tuesday, when we had no way to work on the roof, instead of spending the day cooped up inside the mission, our group spent a few hours seeing the National World War II Museum in downtown New Orleans, which ended up being even more fascinating than I expected, and I love WWII stuff. We also got to visit the site of the Battle of New Orleans, won against the British by a young man named Andrew Jackson. An unexpected highlight of the trip however came in the form of some very spontaneous sight-seeing.
I LOVE American Horror Story on FX. I can’t get enough. If you haven’t seen it, and you don’t’ have anything against very dark storylines, you should definitely check it out. As it turns out, the most recent season of American Horror Story: Coven, took place in New Orleans, where a coven of witches takes on a younger generation of women into “Miss Robicheaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies.” I Googled the house people, and it was actually about a 20 minute drive away from our mission…
Between our trip and the rhetoric immersion trip to Washington D.C., I think we know who saw really saw the most important white house.
The trip was excellent, the food was superb, as always, and it was a great experience getting off campus and into some warm weather for a change. Service trips are an excellent example of ways that you can get a lot more out of a week off besides a crippling hangover.
Good luck with the second half of the semester Wallies!