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Final Thoughts on Our Experiences

Posted from Los Angeles, California, United States.

First off, thank you to Dr. A for another amazing trip. I am thankful for the opportunities to travel and gain hands-on experience more than I could ever explain. Each trip truly has shaped who am I and the things I want to accomplish in the world. I love that we are not just tourists when we visit New Orleans; our goal is not to watch from behind the glass but instead to interact and to live the life of someone in New Orleans for ten days. This is a lesson I plan to continue on no matter where I am. Although some field days got a bit tough and stressful I wouldn’t trade that for anything. These are the times we each are offered a platform to get a glimpsed of our strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities both as a team and individually. Throughout this trip I was also very thankful we spoke with a wide variety of people – from Doctors at Tulane University to musicians and average citizens who have pride in their city. It doesn’t always take a high ranking degree or formal education to allow contribution into a conversation that ultimately affects people of all backgrounds. Hurricane Katrina and its devastation is a lesson I hope not only each of us can learn from but also grow from.

New Orleans Historic Collection

The New Orleans Historical Collection has items from New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf South. There are items that include, diaries, journals, paintings, furniture, etc. Many of these items are located in the history galleries and there are changing of exhibits. The New Orleans Historical Collection is also a research center/publisher. In the research center, you can go look at any item in the collection which isn’t on display. There is also an online catalog to look at Historical items. The items in the collection were sorted by time frame, making it easier to understand the history throughout time. 

At the Collection we saw the film “Surrounded by Water” that described the history of New Orleans and it’s connection between the Old World and the New World. The Mississippi River that extends far between states is a system that continually deposits sediment along its route. This sediment builds the land that places like New Orleans are founded on. The Indians that first arrived to what would become New Orleans picked the place to settle that was above sea level and wouldn’t flood normally. This eventually became the French Quarter. 

Capstone – Neighborhood Gardens

Today, after visiting the New Orleans Cooking School, we traveled to neighborhood gardens called Capstone. This location is ran by David who moved here years ago and began this project with a single honeybee hive. The mission of Capstone is to become familiar with the local New Orleans and to help them get back on their feet. The lower ninth ward was a large agriculture area and when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 all of this was wiped out. Most of the families wanted help from people who “were like them” instead of outside help from different organizations. Years after the hurricane, David has managed to turn disconnected relationships to beneficial ones as well as that single bee hive to extensive garden beds, volunteer projects to remodel abandoned homes, and a variety of other things. What is unique about the garden beds at Capstone, is that it is ran off a hydroponics system. This includes a 3,000 gallon fish tank with catfish, Koi, and other fish, and a series of pipes that filter this nutrient rich water into the flower beds and back into the fish ponds. This closed system is sustainable in that families can harvest fish and fresh vegetables all at once using recycled water. 

Below are pictures of the tank and the pipe systems that lead the water where it needs to go.

Building Flood Walls

Today we visited parts of the levee that broke in the lower ninth ward. We moved down through the drainage canals where they are currently building more of the flood walls and flood gates. This location is a compromise between locations closer and farther from Lake Pontchartrain. 

Pre-Trip Thoughts!

I’ve heard so much about this trip from friends that have gone before and I’m stoked to finally go! My favorite thing about the ESRM department is that we get to travel to places far and near but we also make our trips meaningful. I’m excited to see the culture in NOLA and learn as much as I can about the different lifestyles people live.!