A bittersweet last day in NOLA! On Saturday we went on a swamp tour and saw lots of snakes and birds as we took a boat through the marshes of Slidell, Louisiana. Our tour guide - who seemed a bit overwhelmed by us at first but quickly realized he could have fun and started making alligator calls that we quickly repeated (I’m sure anyone not in our boat thought we were nuts) - told us at the beginning of the trip not to expect to see any alligators, but we wound up seeing at least 4! He told us that alligators are usually in hibernation at this time and that 75 degress is not warm enough for them to come out (yes, you read that correctly, after lots and lots of rain our last day was 75 degrees and sunny), but we were pleasantly surprised to see them out and about, lying on logs and swimming around.
After the tour we made our way to McDonald’s and Wendy’s to get lunch. Note to family and friends: we don’t want to see fast food again for at least a week. Then we headed to the airport to get back to Connecicut!
In our reflection as we sat at the gate at the New Orleans International Airport we went around to talk about our high and low for the week, and essentially everyone had the same thing to say: Our high was that we went on this amazing trip and had the opportunity to make some great friends while helping people who really deserve it. The people of NOLA are some of the nicest, most genuine people we’ve ever met, and each time someone asked one of us what we were there for and we told them to build houses, whether they were affected by Katrina or not, they all immediately smiled and thanked us. Our low was that this journey is over, and we wish we had met each other sooner!
Everyone in this group has brought something different, whether it’s previous experience to help with the house, a hilarious personality that makes us all crack up laughing at their jokes (we had quite a few of those), deep reflections that nearly brought some of us to tears, photography skills to help us document our trip, outgoing personalities that allowed us to try things we never would have, kindness and helpfulness to assist each of us in completing our tasks, and so much more.
None of this could have been possible without Lexi, Colleen, and Kim. We want to all thank them for being our fearless leaders and allowing us to have one of the greatest weeks of our lives. We’ll never forget our time in NOLA, helping people and learning about one another, and we have the three of you to thank for that.
The NOLA ‘13 Family