Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Youth Rebuilding New Orleans

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it was another great month at YRNO.   We followed up last month’s good news of the home sale with our latest purchase, four adjacent properties on St. Ann Street in Bayou St. John, three of which have blighted structures that will hopefully soon be teachers’ homes.  The “volunteer coordinator extraordinaire” has already begun sending out groups to help clear debris!

Speaking of whom, if you can’t imagine me screaming with excitement, you should have been at our office the day YRNO Executive Director Will Stoudt got the call that he had been chosen as one of Gambit’s “40 Under 40” for 2014.  I had written my recent profile of him as part of the effort to make that happen, and to see it pay off was just too much not to step outside our door and let the neighborhood hear my unadulterated joy!  #heis26andhedeservesit

In other office news, I wrote another profile on our latest hire and new AmeriCorps colleague Kyle Cousans, which was well liked on Facebook.  I also represented YRNO at the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council annual appreciation party, where I enjoyed a delicious free dinner and schmoozed with my friends Emily Ramírez Hernández of NOCDC, Jennifer Hardin of Evacuteer and Jim McCutcheon of Entercom New Orleans radio.  Last but not least, we’re in the last throes of submitting Super Service Challenge videos, so please go to our gallery and click on all the vote buttons before “Mayor” Stoudt drives me any more bananas with his cockamamie ideas to stuff the ballot box. #somebodyisobsessed

On the Tulane VISTA beat, I hung out with the aforementioned yellow tropical fruit (played exquisitely by Alle Ehrhardt) at our Halloween party hosted by Merry Cherney, who was gracious enough to let me watch the second half of the Saints win over the Panthers on her television that night.  An even larger group of current and former VISTAs got together for a reunion (and free pizza) at the Mellow Mushroom this month, including Jean Hsu, who was in town for a wedding, crashed in Deming and even bought my roommate Tom Zolot and me a new shower head.  The pressure on the old one was terrible, so big thanks go out to Jean. I feel fresher and cleaner already!

It was also my birthday earlier this week, and Tom deserves the first “shout out” for hitting the town with me on TWO occasions, first taking me to my friend Devin’s house to pre-game and co-celebrate his birthday, and then shuttling me to Hi-Ho Lounge for Saturday night with DJ Soul Sister. As if that weren’t enough, Mr. Zolot took me to Bullet’s Sports Bar to see Kermit Ruffins on my actual birthday Tuesday. In between, my friend Katie treated me to pizza and wine at Wit’s Inn (she made me yummy cake pops too), Will bought donuts and took me to lunch at Raising Cane’s in Gentilly (where we got another freebie courtesy of Lynn Young), the lovely and talented Erin Ricketts brought me some homemade confections, and to top it all off, YRNO board member Mary Shoemaker gave me a dozen beautiful flowers. I’m always telling Miss Mary that my receptionist duties merit flowers at my desk, and she finally went for it! And peep the logo on the makeshift vase!

Before closing, it can’t go without mention that my parents made their first ever trip to New Orleans. I joined Mom (who was profiled in a great article this week) and Dad for a stroll of the Tulane campus, Gleason Gras, a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez, the Saints victory over the Packers, dinner at Galatoire’s 33 and live music at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. We had a great time, as you can see in the picture I took of them in the Superdome, but unfortunately the Saints win was the 18th and final one in my long streak. After I attended the losses to the 49ers and Bengals the last two weeks, the team now stands at a woeful 4-6 on the season.

But somehow…is still tied for first place in the NFC South.




This entry was posted on November 21, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans.



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