Claire Stanley

Student Trip Coordinator

Class of 2018


Waking up to the nice and humid New Orleans weather this morning has provided yet another reminder of how much I value this trip. The setting, the people, and the work that we get to accomplish mean more than anything I could ever imagine myself doing. Not only have these trips inspired me to take our drive and initiative locally, but I have also developed a new sense of perspective working to better other peoples’ lives.


For our third day on the job, our groups strayed away from the beaten path to take on some newer tasks nearby. While two groups returned back to the Delacroix site, and a select few headed back to the Lower 9th Ward to assist Robert Green in restoring his yard, the remaining 20 or so of us helped out around the state park we’re staying in. As we fought back ticks, spiders, beetles, and the possible sight of gators or wild pigs, we tore down branches, raked away leaves, and macheted our way through clearing the nature trails toward the alligator marsh at the park. After talking with some tourists, meeting some some cute dogs, and asking the park rangers about the best place to eat a Po’ Boy in the French Quarter, we had some lunch and took the two mile walk back through the park to get to the campsite where the bus picked us up.

Once we met up with the other groups near Delacroix, we headed a little farther down the road and got a surprise shrimp boat ride! Travelling down the bayou on the boat, we got to see crab traps and meet some locals, who even threw some extra Mardi Gras beads at us. Seeing it at sunset made it a little chillier, but totally worth it to see the Pelicans flying over the water.

As I look back on my third and final trip as a student here on AltFeb, I’ve become really appreciative of all the opportunities I’ve gotten through the years. This year is a lot different from my past two in terms of work- more restoration and renovation than demolition, like focusing on the smaller things and working out the finer details- but the experience means a lot more being here in New Orleans. Even over ten years after Katrina, and six after hurricane Isaac, the survivors are still as strong as ever down here. Being able to talk more to these residents of the 9th Ward, who had their lives changed in a matter of hours, are still able to return back to their homes at the end of the day and stay positive. Seeing all the damage that’s come from the storms has changed my perspective on how I live my life and how I strive to help others.

As we complete our work over the two more days we have here, I want to take away from this trip more memories from the residents of this incredibly strong city. I find the mindsets of the people in New Orleans inspiring and hope to incorporate it more into my personal life back in Royal Oak. I think the take-away I’ve gotten from this year’s trip is truly incomparable, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other experience.