11 posts

A Trip to Remember

Before leaving for the trip, our class explored some of the history of New Orleans, culture of Louisiana, and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. But actually being in New Orleans, experiencing that culture, and actually seeing the lingering devastation spurred by Hurricane Katrina was nothing I expected to experience so intensely. Several things touched me most deeply; speaking with locals who experienced Katrina and reliving their stories, speaking with professors who care so much about their community, hearing about the lawsuits pushing big oil companies to clean up and restore the wetlands, and reporters who wrote about the storm/environmental issues/political milieu of New Orleans.

In addition to all these individual learning experiences, we were able to do hands on work to directly help the cause. I learned so much trudging through the swamp, identifying native and invasive plants, collecting data, learning to work with different teams, and overcoming many types of discomforts.

I left New Orleans with my eyes opened to the issues our friends there face…and the politics that go along hand in hand with those issues. I am now aware of the problems. Hopefully, I will be able to make others aware too by fostering education, engaging in more research, and taking political actions. I thank CSUCI and Dr. Anderson for the amazing opportunity to help, be involved, and to learn about this fragile area and its amazing culture and history.


I learned how to cook a creole tomato sauce over shrimp and rice.


Learning from the great Dr. Steve Nelson from Tulane University about the levee system in New Orleans.


Enjoying a wonderful evening at Woodlands Plantation.


And I got to meet the amazing trumpeter Irvin Mayfield!

Here we come California! 

Thank you Sean, Tom, John, and Diana for this amazing opportunity to help the people of New Orleans and take the time to teach us about the issues Louisiana faces. We are all grateful to be part of this amazing cause!

Last Full Day

Our last full day at our Woodlands Trail field site saw some special guests joining us. Tulane University students with an array of majors joined us who were excited to get working and help us with our surveys supporting Woodlands Conservancy.

The wonderful student paired with my group was Simone.  An Environmental Science major and ROTC member, she was very excited to learn about the different plants and how we did our survey work.  After just a handful of 2mx2m sections, she picked it right up.

Thank you to the Tulane Service Learning students that came out in support of swamp restoration!

Day 2 in the Swamp! 

Day 2 felt a lot better than Day 1. We now have an idea of what was in store for us and we are all loving it! But it is still really hard work and long hours. That doesn’t matter because we are out here to do a job and all have a common goal. 

We are all smiles after lunch ready to start out next transact, or finishing an existing one. 

Thank you to the Kubota for transporting us back and forth! 

Day 1 in the swamp! 

What a tiring and amazing day!! We started nice and clean, not knowing what to expect. 

And we left being able to identify all these different plants and all muddy!! 

Treking through this was pretty fun! But watch out for snakes!

I was given the task of “Data Recorder”, which I really enjoyed because that gave me the time to learn the characterics and shapes of different plant leaves of interest. 

Delicious Lunch at New Orleans Cooking School

I had an amazing time buying and preparing lunch today!! We went to the Cescent City Farmers Market to buy fresh produce for our meals. I was part of Team Entree and we made a tomato base sauce with celery, onions, garlic, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and Joes Stuff. We added shrimp and had rice on the side. 

New Orleans Historical Collection 

The first music book in New Orleans. A group of Ursuline Nuns came to New Orleans and taught girls and women how to read. At that time, 70% of women were literate, which was unheard of anywhere else around the world. 

Thomas pointing on an old map where we currently were (at the New Orleans Museum Collection)

Sugar canes!! 

Amazing depiction of the world map. Laditude was correct, however, longitude wasn’t figured out yet. 

Dr. Anderson with Daphine.

Cheap gas ehh?

What we noticed on our way to our hotel! Yes cheap gas but there is even cheaper out there. As low as $2.15/gal.