by Nicole Silverio ’22
On Tuesday evening, Campus Ministry hosted the 12th annual NOLA Immersion Meal Auction in McPhail’s. The meal auction raised money to sponsor the students’ trip to New Orleans, LA.
The purpose of the trip is to follow the Gospel’s call by helping communities affected by Hurricane Katrina.
NOLA is a campus organization striving to repair New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, which destroyed an estimated $81 million in property damages including many homes and businesses, leaving residents devastated. It destroyed about 90,000 miles of land in LA.
Pamela Tremblay, director of service immersion and social justice at PC, stated, “We look into why New Orleans is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina after all of these years. A part of our research is to figure out why Hurricane Katrina has been so catastrophic.” Tremblay and Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., the chaplain of NOLA, have organized this student service trip to New Orleans.
This year’s meal auction successfully raised $950 by auctioning off meals with about fifteen faculty and staff members. Students had the chance to bid on ten different dinners with their favorite faculty and staff members in order to raise money for the trip.
Quincy Bevely offered to go out to dinner with four students while the dean of students offered to cook for ten students in the President’s house. An estimated number of between 40 and 50 students attended the event.
The goal of getting involved with NOLA on campus is to engage students in service and prayer by building a community that rebuilds the damage in New Orleans. The NOLA team meets every week to discuss the issues in New Orleans and discuss their services in the upcoming winter break.
This month there was a NOLA retreat for all members of NOLA Immersion. The group partners with organizations such as the St. Bernard Project, the Harry Tompson Center, Greenlight New Orleans, and the Lower Ninth Ward Village.
During winter break, 13 students participate in the immersion trip. The NOLA Immersion trip costs about $200 per student, including all transportation and accommodations.
Tremblay explained how they strive to keep costs low for students so that anyone interested in taking part in the service can do so. Back in 2005 when PC began this service, the main goal was to provide relief by helping to rebuild homes. Nowadays, Tremblay explained that socioeconomic status plays a significant role in the lack of repair in certain areas of the city.
The Lower Ninth Ward of the city in particular struggles from the hurricane, therefore, the Lower Ninth Ward is where students spend the majority of their service time.
“We are really grateful for the support from the university,” Tremblay said. “And for the support to make this trip possible each year.”
Since the students on campus were very young when Hurricane Katrina took place, NOLA strives to educate students on campus about the scar Hurricane Katrina has left in New Orleans. NOLA wants to celebrate the community services the PC community does, being able to help other communities across the country and around the world heal from tragedy.