Newton North in New Orleans: First day of service


Senior Julie Fletcher prepares a wall for primer.

The Newtonite

Senior Julie Fletcher prepares a wall for primer.
Senior Julie Fletcher prepares a wall for primer.

by Leah Budson
Each year, a group of students from this school goes on a service trip to New Orleans to help repair houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This blog will give you daily updates, through text, interviews, pictures, and videos, of our trip. The group includes students in the Leadership in a Diverse Society course, carpentry major students, students from the Blue Hills Regional Technical School, and advanced TV production students. This blog will focus more closely on the Leadership class, as the writer is a student in that program.
Day 2: Monday, April 7
An exhausted group of teenagers, complaining about the chilly weather, stumbled out of the bus to the headquarters at 8 a.m. today, where they would soon get their assignments for the next four days. What the volunteer center lost in size it made up for in color: the center was painted bright purple and the surrounding fences and trees were adorned with Mardi Gras beads and colored lights.
Our group was split into sections of ten, each going to work on a different project for the remainder of the trip. The projects included roofing, painting, and helping to recycle old materials.
Junior Vanessa Ferré, who was in the painting group, said that “It was unorganized, but I thought it was a lot of fun.”
Ferré also appreciated being able to see the effects of Katrina. “It was cool because we got to see how the Lower Ninth Ward really looks now,” she said.
Steve, the man whose house the group was painting, took the students to see the lot where his house had been before the hurricane. Nothing remained but the front steps and stone porch, despite the fact that Steve had done a complete renovation of the house only a few months before the storm struck.
Senior Patricia Muumba said that seeing the empty lot where a house had been “struck hard. For a second, I sat down and thought of how much I take things for granted in my life. I couldn’t believe it.”
Senior Julian Chase, who spent the day working to salvage old wood and transport materials, said that “It was really great to see all the progress that had been made using the help of volunteers.”