Date: 2018-09-24

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 15th Anniversary of Tourism Cares in New Orleans, Louisiana. There were over 200 volunteers from within the travel industry at the event and despite the weather being 104 degrees on our work day we were all really excited to help out the city!

The first day we were there we attended the opening reception. This was a great opportunity for me to meet new people and network. We met down in the lobby of the hotel and then got our very own second line parade to the reception at a local restaurant called the Chicory! The parade was really a one-of-a-kind experience!  The food served at the restaurant was delicious and I was able to get my first taste of those famous New Orleans Beignets! The reception was really wonderful and was a great opportunity for me to learn more about what Tourism Cares has done over the last 15 years.  You can find out more information about this amazing organization here.

Second Line Parade

The next day began our work projects!  My assignment was at the Recirculating Farms of New Orleans. Recirculating Farms is an eco-friendly set of farms that focus on using clean recycled water to grow local and accessible foods and create stable green jobs. The farms are not only there to create a space for education but also to provide food to local shelters throughout the area. The farm I worked at was attached to a women’s shelter for homeless and recovering addicts. The farm is in place provide a safe space for these women to interact with the environment, work in the garden, and recover peacefully. Our assignment for the morning was to weed the garden, clean out the existing flower beds, and shovel fresh soil back into them.

Recirculating Farms Coalition

After lunch we headed over to the Recirculating Farms newest addition- Luke’s House. Luke’s House provides medical care to the people of Greater New Orleans through the use of volunteer nurses and physicians. Here we helped stain newly built flower boxes, benches, and the fence surrounding the building. It was unbelievably hot at this point but we powered through and got the job done!  I'm sure this area is going to be a beautiful garden sometime soon and it was really rewarding to know that I helped it grow along the way!

Luke's House

Both locations we visited looked so different by the time we left- it was nice to see the impact we made. This community really benefits from the Recirculating Farms Coalition and it was a honor to help them at this event!

I spent the rest of my weekend touring this phenomenal city!  I was able to see so many new things and try so many new foods.  Seeing the French Quarter and the world famous Bourbon Street was thrilling.  The colorful buildings and the lively entertainment made for an exciting night!  Jackson Square is a landmark facing the Mississippi River is surrounded by historic buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral. I loved this area because it's filled with history, local artists, and wonderful music.  Finally, my favorite spot was the historic Garden District.  The atmosphere of this location is much more laid back than the French Quarter.  The neighborhood's giant and graceful mansions will leave you awe-struck!

Bourbon Street

 

Jackson Square

 

Garden District

I had never been to New Orleans before but now that I have been I can't wait to go back again!  If you ever get the chance to see this resilient city I highly recommend it!

Allison Zalesny

Marketing Coordinator for Mayflower Cruises & Tours