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Project Spring Break offers help to Katrina victims

Students helped to fix a home in New Orleans

By Chaney Collins
On March 21, 2014

  • Patrick McKeown, Contributor. Pam Belcher

Ten ASU students spent their spring break gutting a New Orleans house that was ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

 The Community Service Program of ASU put together Project Spring Break welcoming students to travel to New Orleans, LA and serve the community.

"For three full days we helped a construction worker, Lucas, gut a house that was completely destroyed eight years ago," Community Service Programs Manager Caitlyn Crumrine said. "We literally took everything out of the house except the framework."

Crumrine said there is much more devastation in New Orleans than she thought there would be. Hurricane Katrina swept through the city eight years ago, but the people are still suffering long after the fact.

"While working in the Lower Ninth Ward, there was so much evidence of life on the ground," she said. "Bracelets, mail, coffee cups, baby toys. It felt like a tornado had just gone through there 24 hours before. It was astonishing to see."

On Tuesday, students traveled into the lower Ninth Ward for the first time with Ward "Mack" McClendon.

"Mack is the founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Village, a community center for the people in the area," Crumrine said. "He took us on a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward, which is the area in New Orleans that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina the most. He also showed us his community center."

Having a community center for the people of the Lower Ninth Ward allows the community to support the individuals devastated by Katrina.

"Most of the individuals lost just as much as the person they stand beside at the center," Crumrine said. "Sharing stories allows these people to let go and move forward, while also having support."

Jennifer Johnson, project coordinator and adult supervisor, said she was in awe, as well.

"The large quantity of devastation in New Orleans, especially the Lower Ninth Ward, was unbelievable," Johnson said. "You would think that, many years after the hurricane, more would have been done to clean up the city."

Johnson said she was grateful and ecstatic of the work the students were able to accomplish in such a short period of time.


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