We cannot believe that the trip has come to an end. Today was a great way to end our amazing experience. We started out the day at Tulane University. After walking around the beautiful campus, an admission counselor gave us an information session. We learned about the exciting atmosphere that going to college in New Orleans entails. The food, the culture, and sports are an integral part of being a Tulane University student.
Next, we piled into our van and headed towards Magazine Street. This area of New Orleans had yet another feel to it than any other part. We walked up and down the street, which was filled with antique stores, clothing boutiques, and bakeries. Some of us bought gelato, cupcakes, sunglasses, and shoes. There is something for everyone on Magazine Street.
For lunch, we took a drive to Parkway Bakery and Tavern for their famous po boys. For those who don’t know, a po boy, which stands for poor boy, is a traditional New Orleans sandwich typically made with a variety of fried seafood, and is “dressed” with mayo, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Others preferred non-traditional po boys like grilled chicken, caprese, and even alligator sausage.
All of us piled into our separate vehicles, headed towards our two job sites. To hear the quick phrase “last day of work” was not a relief, but a sorrowful anticipation; it is the feeling someone gets before leaving an incredible destination like New Orleans, or finishing a good book. On the last day of work, the group working on Teresa Ross’s house, whose home was completely submerged underwater during Katrina, completed sanding and more mudding. With each layer of mud, and smoothing of mud, hope constructed itself in the skeleton of the new home. The completed second layer of mud proved to be the fully functioning joints of not only Teresa’s house in the works, but her home in the works. The other half of the girls continued to put up dry wall in the home of Reynaldo Lewis, working their muscles and carefully screwing in nails. The bones of each house being worked on, perfected, and smoothed created a productive mix.
Throughout the building process, each Kent Place student grew together to build up stronger bonds, while also building up a house. Not only were the two teams building up the house, alone, but they continued a process that already began in past weeks. After today, it is true that following teams to work on each house would not have success in making progress in the following weeks, without our diligent work.
Teresa Ross’s smile perfectly landed our trip’s flight on the runway of success. A question-answer session made our work very personal, with the opportunity to speak to a woman whose life we were a part of rebuilding. In reply to the question ‘What is the first thing you want to do when you enter your new home?’ she replied with “I want to take a bath.” After a trip to New Orleans, some of us missed our beds at home, but Teresa has a bed to look forward to. “Sometimes I walk into the house while people are working and I just want to jump up and down. Sometimes I cry because I see my house,” said Teresa, with a bright smile flooding in. It is incredible how her smile could flood in just as easily as the water had. Teresa moved away from New Orleans for a year, to return to a home swallowed up by muddy waters. By the end, the team successfully mudded, and sanded two layers of mud, allowing painting to be done soon- a job well done. According to Dr. Rezach, “We went, we saw, we conquered.” We will return home tomorrow, with reflections, photographs, culture, and feelings that cannot be captured on camera.
Katie Hammond ‘14
Ashley Shields ‘14
Sara Ramaswamy ‘15