Water, water everywhere: the Mississippi, Lake Pontchartrain, canals, and the Gulf of Mexico. Café Du Monde, with its front-row seats to a never-ending parade of street life. Musicians on every corner. The ornate and colorful Spanish colonial buildings of Vieux Carré, the French Quarter. The regal homes of the Garden District. Massive po’boy sandwiches. ...As they say in NOLA, “laissez les bons temps rouler – let the good times roll.”
With its quirky mix of landmarks, institutions, and traditions, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast is a unique place, but there’s much more that demands attention. Weed-strewn neighborhoods are still awaiting revival years after the floods of Katrina.
And so we volunteer and partner with local homeowners who are rebuilding their lives. Outside the city, we provide aid to the ecological system of destroyed marshes, sand dunes, and islands. That’s how we roll at The Road Less Traveled.
your world awaits
learn more about the road less traveled teen community service trip new orleans: the gulf coast
13 years! We ran our first New Orleans program back in 2006 to provide relief to communities and families after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, we've formed life-long connections with the NOLA Tree Project and with families living in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Over the years, we've modified the program to serve the needs of the communities we visit. Though over a decade has passed since Hurricane Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward still struggles to provide affordable housing for the 6,000+ residents without homes.
A drive through the neighborhood still reveals the scars of the storm: empty lots and blighted homes, no grocery stores, and only one school. Now more than ever, it is apparent that the future of New Orleans depends on our ability to advocate for struggling minority communities and their access to affordable housing.
For the past 13 summers, we’ve worked with organizations like the NOLA Tree Project, who work to grow stronger, healthier communities through tree plantings and community service projects. Join us as we reflect on the changing city learn how to better America from our fellow Americans.
We stay in a private home located just 20 minutes outside of the city. This provides us with an ideal location to explore the city as well as the surrounding natural areas. We kayak the incredible bayous, explore the parks, sample beignets at Cafe du Monde, and volunteer with NOLA Tree Project.
While this trip is a labor of love, there is time to experience local culture, music, and dance in the French Quarter at the world famous Preservation Hall. We enjoy art, architecture, bayou tours, voodoo tours, cooking classes, and cuisine – including a stop at the original French coffee market stand for beignets and sweet café au lait.
Heading out onto the bayou, we also kayak through the Manchac Swap, discovering the importance of wetlands from local naturalists and paddling past an old ghost town.
Manon is back home and she really enjoyed her experience at RLT. It was rich in emotion and meetings with incredible persons. Your leaders are really the best! We were a little worried to send her in the US with a non French organisation but we have been impressed by you professionalism and your kindness," Nathalie A., Gulf Coast Alumni Parent
Thank you for making Sam's two weeks in New Orleans a fantastic, unforgettable, life-changing experience. Although I could tell he was happy to find me waiting for him when he got off the plane, what was most evident was how much he was already missing his camp friends, and counselors, the magic of those two special weeks. I can see that he wishes it would've lasted longer and that he was still with his camp experience. We are very appreciative of the work it took to put together this very meaningful, unforgettable adventure," Andrea G., Gulf Coast Alumni Parent.
James very much enjoyed the two weeks with RLT, and felt (and we can feel that too!) that he has learned a great deal about the real world and himself in ways he had not expected. Thank you very much for devoting yourselves to putting together programs such like this for the young people. The educational benefits are certainly deep and wide," Henry G., Gulf Coast Alumni Parent
Interested in hearing more? We have hundreds of alumni families who can tell you more about their RLT experience. Please contact our office at 773-342-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. If you'd like to read more about our safety record and our accreditations, click here.
To marvel at the Mighty Mississippi
To explore Audubon Park, with its mossy-draped oaks, quiet lagoons and meditative labyrinth
To take a break in the French Quarter for a powdery beignet and sweet café au lait
To visit Cajun Country, nearby yet a world away with its uniquely rustic culture
To see first-hand the catastrophic effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and shipping canals
To help rebuild homes in neighborhoods still struggling from the after-effects of past hurricanes
To discover what voodoo is really all about
To learn from a chef what makes Cajun cooking so hot
Take in a performance of the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Ride a bayou airboat to visit some very large and toothsome reptiles
Chill out with a sno-ball, a cup of finely shaved ice drenched in colorful syrup
Tour colorful neighborhoods in vintage streetcars
We invite you to start your journey to New Orleans today.