The seniors had an amazing last day in New Orleans. After a yummy breakfast we got on the bus and started our drive to the art center. The bus pulled over by a freeway underpass and we all got off, confused as to why this was our first stop. Mr. Kuchar gathered us in a circle and explained that the place where we stood was once a thriving black neighborhood, similar to the French Quarter today. The city decided they wanted a freeway through New Orleans, so they put it right through the middle of the neighborhood, erasing an entire community, full of culture and promise. We spent ten minutes wandering around looking at the cement poles that had been turned into beautiful murals encapsulating the Treme neighborhood before it was paved. Saddened and ready to do something, we headed to YAYA, a nonprofit working to inspire youth through art. We spent the morning making our own murals on butcher paper. We loved working collaboratively, focusing on our own piece of art but seeing how well they all connected to make this colorful mural. It was such a great way to process some of the experiences and feelings we had while in New Orleans. After a sunny lunch in YAYA’s courtyard, we took a long drive through the city and suburbs to the Bayou. We spent an hour walking through the swamp and enjoying the beautiful views and wildlife. We saw 11 alligators! We all appreciated how different the bayou landscape is from anything we’ve seen in California. After some rest and gumbo dinner at the hotel we were off to the French Quarter for a lively night. Some of us spent free time in the French quarter and others spent the night at Preservation Hall, a world known jazz hall from the early 1800s. We waited in line for over an hour, singing, playing games, and just enjoying each other’s company. By the time we made it into the hall and the music started, we all agreed it was well worth the wait. I’ve never heard live music like that before and I was overwhelmed with the talent of the musicians. The band does not rehearse, but instead takes suggestions from the audience and improvises. It was unbelievable! We didn’t want the show to the end, but we headed back to the hotel for one last sleep in New Orleans. I think we can all agree it has been one incredible, even life-changing journey.
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace their Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.