By 5:30 AM, the Class of 2019 had arrived at SFO, ready for a long day of travel. Despite a chorus of yawns and collectively bleary eyes, we’d fastened our neck pillows, assembled the snacks, and taken some Melatonin: off in a jiffy to a city most of us have never laid eyes upon.
In just a few hours of A) Sleep, B) Rom-coms, C) Snacks, D) Books, the seniors spilled out into the humid air of New Orleans…and right back onto a tour bus. We sped off from the airport, and soon pulled up to our abode: the Maison Saint Charles. It’s splashed in periwinkle—sure, chipped in a few places—but the white beams, scrawled logo, and beckoning staff welcomed us home. We ran to the snacks Ms. Lipkina had graciously laid out, then unpacked our bursting suitcases. Swimwear was almost donned, for rumors of a hot tub were rampant. While the water wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t the glistening steamy refresh we’d hoped for—so we passed.
After a brief orientation from our volunteer group coordinators, the seniors dove into dinner. Yeah, the water might not’ve tasted as pristine as what flows from the Bay’s faucets, and the cookies not on par with La Boulangerie, but nevertheless, we ate with gusto. One thing’s for sure: the Class of 2019 is diving head-first into local culture—food, service, and music—albeit not into that hot tub.
Tomorrow, we’re headed to the streets for our first service project: cleaning up leftover beads from the Mardi Gras celebrations a few weeks prior. While I’d have loved to participate in the festivities, getting our hands dirty is one way to live post-vicariously in NOLA culture. What’s more, our fun is to be had in the afternoon, with a jaunt in the French Quarter. Can I get a “yay” for free time!?
I’d like to extend a collective thank-you on behalf of the Class of 2019 to our trip leaders: Ms. Lipkina, Ms. Russell, Mr. Mirelman, and Dr. Rosen. We’re grateful for your help, and excited for the duration of our journey in the Bayou!