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Today started much like every other day, the only difference was five of us had to get up and do breakfast this morning at 6:30. The rest of us rolled in for breakfast and lunch making between 7-7:40. After we were done with breakfast we left around 8:30 to head to the New Orleans Museum of Art. We worked with another school from Chicago inside of the NOMA Sculpture Garden. During this volunteering we learned that this sculpture garden opened up about a year before Hurricane Katrina so they had to shut down for awhile but they were lucky enough to escape with very little damage. There was very little damage because the sculptures are heavily packed into the ground. Inside the park there are around 60 pieces, currently at capacity with their sculptures so they are working on a 6-acre expansion. Our group worked on planting Louisiana Iris Blooms and weeding around them. We then added mulch to the ground. They will be having an event in a few weeks when the Iris’ are in full bloom.

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One of the really awesome things about our volunteer experience today was the people from all over the states were coming through this garden and they would stop and want to talk with us. They would ask us where we are from, what we are doing there, how we got here, etc. They were all incredibly nice, and not just the tourists, the people from the community were all incredibly appreciative of the work we are doing. This really helped our group keep a positive mindset, it was a nice reminder that the work we are doing whether large or small makes a difference in every way.

After we finished our volunteering we were able to stay in the sculpture garden and go explore the actual museum too. We did that for about an hour and half after lunch before going over to this quaint little cafe named Morning Call. The service was a little rushed and not the most welcoming of places, but for the most part the food or drinks we got did taste good. It was pretty impressive that our server was able to take down all of our orders (9 of us) and come back with everything but two items.

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We left the museum at three and since we still had two and half hours of free time we decided to visit the Superdome (Natasha’s favorite part thus far). It was awesome because not only did we get to see the Superdome but people were able to explore a little bit more of New Orleans. Some found a cool costume shop while others just explored the wonder that is the Superdome. Today was just a really relaxed day (which is why there isn’t as much to talk about today) and we were able to get back to Camp Restore early enough to have some actual relaxation time. Then it was dinner followed by debrief time. During debrief time we were given our letters from home. There were tears, there were laughs, everyone was happy in the end to have gotten something from home.

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And now those favorite parts!

Olivia: “Interacting with the community visitors while gardening and learning more about them!”

Clare: “My favorite part of the day was talking to all of the people walking through the sculpture garden and being told we were ‘professional gardeners’.”

Ann: “Seeing how much the garden visitors appreciated our work.”

Jackie: “I loved the ‘cold’ 65 degreed day spent in the beautiful and reflective sculpture garden and working alongside the group from Chicago.”

Emily W.: “I loved walking through New Orleans and being able to interact with the community and just enjoy my time being here.”

Madison: “I loved the people in the community they were so welcoming and appreciative of our hard work and it definitely made the experience 100% better (Also, the accents and positive vibes our group has all the time).”

Karis: “I loved the spontaneity of the afternoon and exploring some of the downtown area.”

Emily T.: “The weather today was fantastic and easy going. I love how close we have gotten with each other and how much invovlement we are doing with each other in New Orleans!”

Kalee: “I loved the gardens and museum! It was so nice to be in a peaceful place filled with nature. I liked getting to talk with the people coming through the gardens and seeing the impact we made. Also our reflection time was incredible.”

Natasha: “While being able to do what we are here for is always incredible my favorite part of the day has got to be going to the Superdome! I loved being able to experience more of New Orleans but especially getting to see the Saints home, it was just a really beautiful place (even if I did spend a bit more than planned on Saints apparel).”