Fourteen years after Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana, the Gulf Coast still remains relevant to our mission at The Road Less Traveled. Residents, wildlife habitats, and diverse fishing and tourism industries still struggle to recover as the Gulf Coast remains one of the most vulnerable areas in the U.S.
We are committed to bringing stability to this vital region. Our work is not finished.
This was one of the best experiences of my life and I recommend this trip to anyone who is considering it. I'm already planning a trip through RLT for next summer because it was a life-altering experience for me, and truly something I'll remember forever.” - Delaney G., New Orleans: The Gulf Coast 2019
Travel with us to New Orleans on a 15-day teen community service and hurricane relief program focused on the residents and coastal wetlands of Louisiana. Based in the Crescent City, we volunteer and partner with local homeowners who are rebuilding their lives from the devastation of natural and human-made disasters from the past decade. We work to bring community gardens to low-income neighborhoods and provide aid to the ecological systems of destroyed marshes, sand dunes, and islands.
The Gulf Coast has a lived-in, cozy feeling that’s fun and easy. Everything that makes life worth living is here: food, music, architecture and culture. Journey to find an expression of tradition, community spirit, and joy that can only be found in the charming city of New Orleans.
Keep scrolling to learn more about our service trip to New Orleans and how you can make a real difference with your summer!
The historic Manchac Swamp has many roots anchored in the past. Learn about the previous inhabitants and the current wildlife that have taken over, all while taking in the beautiful mossy scenery.
New Orleans is surrounded by water – the Great River, Lake Pontchartrain, and the ever-encroaching Gulf of Mexico! Keep a look out for wildlife in this region, as Louisiana has the highest population of alligators in the world!
A dessert-free trip to New Orleans would be a travesty! Cool off with a sno-ball or savor a beignet in the French Quarter. For more than 150 years, the French Market Café Du Monde has entertained guests with signature fried treats, café au lait, and prime seating to view the nonstop parade of tourists, street performers, and local characters.
Vieux Carré, the French Quarter, is the city’s oldest neighborhood. Colorful gardens add natural beauty to the square where coins are tossed wishfully into the fountain. The crescent along the Mississippi River is the setting for iconic New Orleans photographs.
Mysterious moss-draped bayous are home for flora and fauna found nowhere else in the country. Cruise on a fanboat through age-old cypresses, among 10-foot gators, and where long-legged waterfowl wait patiently to scoop up their dinner.
As the gutting of homes, rebuilding of levees, and removal of debris continues, the Labyrinth stands as a symbol of hope for the New Orleans community: a place to heal, walk together, and celebrate the city's culture.
Human and natural causes are behind Hurricane Katrina's remarkable loss of life, land, and property. Volunteers continue to lend a hand to the flooded neighborhoods that still need help where life is hardly back to normal.
New Orleans relies on the skill and creativity of its chefs. Foodies can expand their culinary horizons and learn about traditional recipes and ingredients from the experienced chefs at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
A ragtag collection of artists and fortune-tellers gathers here at the heart and soul of the French Quarter. At the Square’s crown is the Hurricane Katrina Museum and three 18th-century architectural glories: the Cabildo, where the Louisiana Purchase was signed, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytère.
The sounds of jazz are everywhere in the Crescent City. From trumpeters at Preservation Hall to other venues scattered throughout New Orleans, sweet melodies rise through the warm air.
Disaster Relief, Hurricane Reconstruction, Replanting Native Trees, Wetland and Ecosystem Rehabilitation.
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total number of hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
Explore: French Quarter, Area Beaches, Audubon Park, Cafe du Monde, Jackson Square, City Park
Tour: Bayou fan boat tour on Bayou Barataria, Voodoo Tour, Lower 9th Ward Living Museum, WW2 Museum
Class: Cajun Cooking
Attend: Preservation Hall Jazz Band Performance
Kayak: Historic Manchac Swamp & Bayou
8 - 12
We stay in a private home. Bedrooms will be divided by gender and participants will sleep slumber party style – in sleeping bags, rotating available beds nightly. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability.
New Orleans, LA
Join in on the fun! Check out #tgcRLT for a behind-the-scenes look at photos from past participants and leaders.
Arrive in New Orleans, settle in.
Orientation, visit the Hurricane Katrina Museum, familiarize ourselves with the city.
Provide aid to threatened ecological systems. Create nurseries, restore wetlands, help plant new growth that will slow down erosion, and remove damaged plants and invasive species. Help to brighten communities disproportionately affected by storms by assisting local residents to restore damaged homes and community buildings.
Explore Audubon Park and take a Bayou Tour on a fan boat.
Continue our service work in New Orleans. In the afternoons, we will practice our culinary skills in a Cajun cooking class, kayak through the cypress trees and spanish moss in a local bayou, listen to an authentic jazz performance, try a renowned Po’ Boy, and walk through the famous Garden District.
Enjoy the delicious sounds, tastes, and smells of the French Quarter. Visit the incomparable Café du Monde, take a tour of classic New Orleans architecture and voodoo dens. Close with our traditional final banquet.
Say goodbye to our new friends and fly home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
For an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please call our office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST at 773-342-5200 and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination of New Orleans, LA (MSY) on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination of New Orleans, LA (MSY) back home on the last day of the trip.