19 volunteer to help rebuild New Orleans

By Emily Wallach



During spring break, 19 upper school students and five chaperones partook in the school’s third trip to New Orleans with the purpose of “doing good for the outside community while building interior community,” chaperone and Chaplain Father J. Young said.


“It was a purple house that we painted on the third day of construction,” Young said. “Liese Dettmer had been living there for a year, and the house needed new paint. We did a lot of touch up work like landscaping and transporting sand,” Young said about the community service efforts of those on the trip.


The group partnered with Habitat for Humanity to fix four or five houses in Musicians’ Village, an enclave of about eighty houses that are occupied by musicians and their families, in an effort to prevent artists from leaving New Orleans after the damage of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Young said.


“It was a really rewarding experience to understand the impact that five days of our lives could actually make,” Christine Kanoff ’11 said. “I’ll never forget the last day when we were building the house and [Dettmer] came out and played the guitar and sang.”


For Young, his best-loved moment of the April 6-10 trip was the appreciation received from the people of New Orleans, this year illustrated in the form of a standing ovation and a plaque of recognition, now hanging on his office wall, from the hotel staff of the hotel where they stayed.


“My favorite part of the trip was the way we were treated by the people of New Orleans,” Young said.


Students were allowed to go out in the French Quarter in small groups at night and eat “great” New Orleans food, Young said. On Friday, their last day, students and chaperones were able to explore the city and then boarded a flight home.


“I would go again in an instant,” Kanoff said.


Olivia Kestin ’09, the student organizer of the trip, thought bonding with the group and working on the job site was her favorite part, she said.


“There is a lot of teamwork involved and while working on the homes you really get to become close with other students who you might not have known well before while doing work you also may have never done before” Kestin said.


“It’s rewarding to know that we helped in some way to provide [residents] a new home to re-start their lives,” Kestin said.

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