Exams are done, 1 more sleep to go and all I can think about is New Orleans!!! I got to meet some of my trip mates during the St. Patrick’s Day bake sale and our Red Lobster meet & greet and I’m excited to be going with a great group of people. We all come from various backgrounds and disciplines and it’s neat to see how we share similar passions in humanitarian work and wanting to make some significant changes in people’s lives. For me, I don’t expect to change the world in New Orleans during my two weeks there, but I do want to hear the stories from the locals, understand what’s going on and what the persistent challenges that people face are.

After our very first class, we learned of the work that Brad Pitt has done in New Orleans and his ‘make it right’ campaign and it got me to his website. Initially, I was in search of contact info; just too simply explain of our group’s mission to New Orleans to Brad Pitt and ideally dreaming that he would show up when we’re there to participate with us in our community work. It was a shot…but I found no contact info. The website though did get me browsing though and I kept reviewing Hurricane Katrina timelines in disbelief of the series of events that followed. Until our last class we’ve been reading about what happened during Katrina and it all seemed surreal, but then to see images and hear people’s stories from the Spike Lee Documentary When the Levee’s Broke (2006) was just jaw-dropping. I was angry watching that video and kept thinking ‘where is the government?’. Is this really the Unites States because I know they have an abundant amount of resources that aren’t being utilised? Myself, as a political science major thought everything taking place was political suicide, how do these people still have careers in the public service? Bush couldn’t even appear in the more appropriate photo ops! Looking out from the airplane window? Really?

The jitters and excitement has definitely settled in. I’m nervous about the flight, as I’ve never travelled on a plane alone, but I should be fine. When in doubt, I’ll ask someone a million questions! It also has been a long time since I’ve looked at my readings and I’ll probably do some catch up on the long plane ride. But most of all, I’m excited and can’t wait for the memories. I’m going to learn new skills, pick up a handy tool and hopefully learn to paint better! I hope the weather holds up as we’ve been hearing on the news of recent flooding in many parts of the south that could trickle into New Orleans. I can’t tell you all that I’m looking forward to: hearing some Jazz music, the New Orleans accent, hot weather!, trying gumbo and creole food, the famous Hurricane drink, seeing a crocodile and so much more! What’s left to say but, here I come! New Orleans ahead!!

-Diana

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