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Gill St. Bernard’s New Orleans 2018

May 23, 2018

Today, after waking up early for our flight and eventually arriving in New Orleans, we first went to the Big Cheezy for lunch. They specialized in grilled cheese with numerous types to choose from. We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at Audubon Park where we went over what we would be doing during the course of the week and saw the tree of life. Then we spent sometime in the local Backstreet Museum learning about NOLA’s traditions. Next, we returned to our hotel to shower before going to the famous Mother’s for dinner. Many ordered their speciality: ham po’ boys! Finally, to finish the night, we attended Wednesdays at the Square a local music and arts festival where we got yet another sample of what makes New Orleans so unique.

-Lexi Y & Caitlyn M

May 24, 2018

We went to City Park for our service projects. We planted cast iron plants around old oak trees to protect their roots and preserve them for years to come. We played soccer waiting for the rain to stop. Our initial plan was to go to a high ropes course. However, due to the thunder we had to reschedule for a safer time. Instead we went to the New Orleans Jazz Museum snd got to experience an amazing jazz concert. After exploring the museum, we walked around the French Quarter and the French Market. From there, we are some delicious beignets at Cafe du Monde before heading back to our hostel. After showers and grabbing a change of clothes, the group traveled on the street car to the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen for dinner and a group meeting to reflect on our day.

– by Becca M. & Sean B.

May 25, 2018

On Friday, we started our day by going to Mardi Gras World. Mardi Grad World houses props from previous years’ celebrations. They also design and build the next years floats and props. Mardi Gras World is also home to Pixie, a robot that designs and creates large props for Mardi Gras and other events. After that, we took the ferry to Algiers Point, the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. We then ate lunch at Felipe’s Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant. After lunch, we stopped at a market to get snacks for our hour-long ride to the Whitney Plantation. When we got to the Whitney plantation, we learned about slavery from the slaves’ point of view. The Whitney Plantation is the only plantation museum in Louisiana with that exclusive focus. For dinner, we went to Voodoo BBQ, for a combination of traditional barbecue food and signature Louisiana dishes.

by Kerry C. and Emily S.

The first place we went to yesterday was Mardi Gras World. We got to see the parade floats first hand and experience what it is like to construct the floats. In our opinion, it was an important part of the day to see what the culture is like in New Orleans and how they celebrate. Since we cannot watch the parade on tv or see it anywhere on the internet, it allowed us to see parts of what the community experiences. After seeing all the parade floats and props, we took a ferry ride to Algiers Point. In the pouring rain it was exciting yet scary to watch all the lightning strike. We then walked to a restaurant called Filipes and had some Mexican food for lunch. We then got a chance to go to a local market to buy some snacks for our rooms. Spending more than we probably needed, we then left to drive to the Whitney Plantation.

The second half of Friday was an emotional roller coaster, exploring the realist nature of the African American experience in slavery. Going to the Whitney plantation offered a new experience none of us had done before. Afterwards, we head back to the Quisby to shower before eating dinner at Voodoo BBQ. Voodoo was a world within itself, demonstrating and displaying the vast culture of new Orleans. I ordered the delicious Cajun chicken with a side of crispy French fries. We ended the day with a helpful and insightful wrap-up meeting with the group, talking about our experiences throughout the day and sharing a joy and fear we had as an individual. After that, we left voodoo and went back to the Quisby to sleep.
– by Jacqueline D. &  Matt Y.

May 26, 2018

Today started out by going to the Green Light Project! We separated into three groups and the options were, painting a rain barrel, picking out weeds, and installing a community garden. Lauren got the experience the painting of the rain barrels which was an enlightening experience. Skylar pulled out weeds which was a hard job, but was fulfilling. After we had lunch, we learned how to install the energy efficient lightbulbs into people’s houses. We got in our vans and went to two houses to exchange their lightbulbs for energy efficient ones for free. This experience was humbling because we got to help out the New Orleans community. Then we enjoyed a tasty dinner at a cultural Vietnamese restaurant.

-by Lauren and Skylar

May 27, 2018

Today, we started off our day with some community service at Fontainebleau State Park. We split up into groups and walked around the park to pick up litter on the ground. After about an hour of searching though the park for trash, we gathered for a meeting to discuss our plans for the rest of the week and what community service means to us and how it helps. After we left the park we went to lunch. Then we went on a tour of the New Orleans swamps. It was not only very fun to observe the swamps, but it was also interesting to learn about the variety of plants and animals that live there. There were some species of animals that never even heard of, like the apple snail. While we were observing the swamp, the captain of our boat was getting involved with the wildlife in multiple ways: he was feeding the alligators hot dogs, feeding the raccoons marshmallows, and whistling out the mating calls of the birds that live in the area. He also explained to us how people live in the area; they do so by living in houses that are elevated above water level to prevent them from being flooded. Overall, it was a really fun experience to see and learn about the wildlife of the New Orleans swamp. After touring the swamps we enjoyed some Snoballs, and got ready for a great dinner at ‘Dat Dog,’ a famous hotdog restaurant.
– by Thomas C. and  Evan M.

May 28, 2018

Today in New Orleans our group participated in a high ropes course early in the morning. We challenged ourselves with complicated rope courses and many of us participated in a particular course: the trapeze jump. Many successfully jumped to the trapeze from a 30 foot telephone pole and some did not. Overall the ropes course was a very fun experience that many of us will remember. After a quick lunch we drove to the French quarter for a tour and some shopping. The tour was interesting as we learned about the history, architecture, and stories of New Orleans. The tour started in Jackson square and we moved through the streets and around the city. After the tour we were allowed to travel in small groups around the market and look around. We ended the day going to our new home, at the bayou segnette with a homemade dinner of pasta.
– by Charles and Izzy