Jessica French

Contributing Writer

New Orleans is known for its awesome party scene and its crime but it is much more than that.

Contributed Photos / Jessica French

Contributed Photos / Jessica French

A team of nine Keene State College students dedicated their spring breaks to driving over 26 hours all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana, to work with the United Saints Recovery Project. Keene State has a great relationship with the United Saints and the organization is always happy to see returners. United Saints Recovery Project has been around since Hurricane Katrina, and focuses on the community of New Orleans and rebuilding what — almost 10 years after the fact — still needs help. Being on Alternative Break allowed Keene State students to not only work with an amazing organization, but it allowed them to truly see why New Orleans is such a magical place that deserves to be restored. Throughout the week, we were able to accomplish many different projects. One project Keene State became emotionally attached to was painting Dr. Veronica Lewis’s house. As we completed her house she came out and called us her angels and tears started filling up her eyes. To us we were just painting her house, but to her and her family, it was so much more.

I could honestly go on about this trip forever, and I know the eight other participants could as well. This trip has specifically changed my perspective on life and the city of New Orleans. As a team we were able to experience not only the city, but the people. A woman who told us her Hurricane Katrina story stated how important this city is to her. She had seen the devastations of the horrible storm but decided to come back because of the people and the great sense of community. She had lost everything and almost everyone, but came back. Her passion for her city and community empowered us all and reminded us of the work we were doing and why we were doing it.

New Orleans is full of amazing people, stories and life. Being able to work with the United Saints and the eight other incredible Keene State students was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I advise as many people to experience Alternative Break when you have the chance, because it will honestly change your life. Team NOLA 2015, thank you for all your hard work, I love you all to the moon and back!

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