The Katrina Krewe makes a difference

Students+Molly+Caroll+%2715%2C+Ellie+Denson+%2715%2C+and+Julie+Perry+%2715+painting+doors+scheduled+to+be+installed+the+next+day.+Courtesy+of+the+St.+Bernard+Project.

Students Molly Caroll ’15, Ellie Denson ’15, and Julie Perry ’15 painting doors scheduled to be installed the next day. Courtesy of the St. Bernard Project.

Students Molly Caroll '15, Ellie Denson '15, and Julie Perry '15 painting doors scheduled to be installed the next day. Courtesy of the St. Bernard Project.
Students Molly Caroll ’15, Ellie Denson ’15, and Julie Perry ’15 painting doors scheduled to be installed the next day. Courtesy of the St. Bernard Project.
Since 2005, Convent of the Sacred Heart has been sending a group of students and faculty to New Orleans to help repair the damage that occurred after the category five storm, Hurricane Katrina.  The hurricane destroyed cities in Southern Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and many people have yet to return to their homes.
Mrs. Lori Wilson, Director of Catholic Ministry and Upper School Community Service, and Dr. Kevin Donnelley, Chair of World Languages, led the program this year, each for their fourth time. In addition, four sophomores and one freshman accompanied them.
“It’s a good way to make a difference, to help another person,” Mrs. Wilson said.
The students’ jobs included mudding, also known as spackling, as well as painting walls, baseboards and doors. All of these jobs contributed to the rebuilding of Ms. Afria Ahmed’s house.
Ms. Ahmed’s home was flooded up to the second story, and although the outer structure remained, the entire inside was covered in mold and needed to be gutted.  She began this project immediately, but was a victim of contractor fraud and lost all the money she had to rebuild. Finally, eight years later, her house was scheduled to be complete within the first few weeks of February.
The girls on the trip were not only expected to work hard on the site, but to partake in busy evenings and mornings filled with reflections, speakers, and tours. In addition, the girls performed chores at the Duchesne House, a home owned by Sacred Heart RSCJs that offers housing for volunteers. Their chores included washing dishes, preparing lunches for the next day, writing nightly e-mails to Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Hayes, and their parents, while still keeping up with their school assignments.
The girls plan to create a club next year called “The Katrina Krewe.” The club will help raise awareness about the hurricane damage from that still exists today. They also hope  to raise money to send to The Saint Bernard Project, the organization the girls collaborated with to build the house. Even though it is not an official club yet, the girls have already completed their first fundraiser, selling Mardi Gras Grams.
“The Mardi Gras Grams were a very quick idea and we went with it,” sophomore Ellie Denson said. “They were a small thing, only a few dollars each, but can help in a huge way.”
On the trip, the students contributed to the process of returning a woman to her home, and developed a better understanding about Hurricane Katrina. However,they also gained various new skills in the constructional field, as well as new insights about themselves.
“I am much more aware now of not only the situation in New Orleans, but how it has impacted people emotionally,” Ellie said. “Being able to see and hear these stories first hand touches you. I know that I will continue to help SBP in any way that I can and I definitely will be back to the city to help with another rebuild.”
 
-Gabrielle Giacomo, Staff Writer
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