|Welcome Packet 2013|
Welcome to New Orleans and the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal
The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal
The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal is a catalyst in the New Orleans and Gulf Coast regions for nurturing a sustainable, equitable and inclusive community by promoting social, racial and economic justice.
The Center works with community partners to connect volunteers with opportunities that address the needs of those in New Orleans affected by the flood. There are several key components of the program designed to help volunteers understand the context in which they are working, to process their experience, and to be effective witnesses of the continued devastation of the Gulf Coast. These are:
· An opportunity to take a self-guided driving tour of the devastated area of New Orleans.
· An initial orientation including rules and procedures for the Center, the geography and birth of New Orleans, history of Hurricane Katrina, levee breaches, current situation in New Orleans, and an overview of work safety issues.
· A Dialogue, New Orleans Now: Race, Culture and Rebuilding, that facilitates a discussion of the inequalities in the region’s rebuilding and recovery process, followed by a Center-hosted traditional New Orleans-style dinner.
· Reflection opportunities during your stay and the opportunity to complete an evaluation of the program.
The Center is located at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans (FUUNO), 2903 Jefferson Avenue; however, the Center uses the Claiborne Ave entrance at the corner of Soniat Street door as its entrance. See doors here:
Here in New Orleans, we don't talk about north, south, east and west. Instead, we give directions in relation to the water around us. If something is north, it's toward the lake (or lakeside). If it's south, it's toward the river (or riverside). East and west are defined by the flow of the river, so west is upriver (or uptown) and east is downriver (or downtown).
The Center is on the edge of 4 neighborhoods: Freret, Uptown, Broadmoor, and Carrollton. This means we're close to Tulane and Loyola Universities, as well as Audubon Park, and we are upriver of the Garden District, the French Quarter, and the Central Business District.
- Hostel-type dorms with bunk beds
- 3 large dorm rooms (with locks), which may be divided by sex
- 5 showers, one each in the women's and men's restrooms, and 3 enclosed, outdoors
-Dining room and kitchen with refrigerator, stove, microwave, and dishes
- High Efficiency washer and dryer (located on 1st floor)
- Central heat and air conditioning
-Wireless internet access
-TV and DVD player
While staying at the Center, volunteer groups participate in our meal plan, which includes:
- help-yourself breakfast everyday (cereal-hot & cold, yogurt, English muffins, etc)
- packed lunches for work days
- hot, family-style dinners (except Saturday)
The Center has bedding and linens (including pillows) available. Lodgers are responsible for washing and putting away bedding (and providing their own HE detergent). If you have an early flight to catch, we can arrange to clean your linens for an additional fee of $10. Please do not store used linen without laundering.
Volunteers are also asked to replace items kept on hand that will be consumed during the course of their stay, such as toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags and HE detergent. Please plan to purchase these.
One of our hopes is that in addition to volunteer work, groups get to enjoy New Orleans. You will have free time, and we encourage you to get out and see the city. It would be a shame if you didn’t get to have an authentic New Orleans meal and hear jazz at least once while you are here. If you can, take a free night time ferry ride across the Mississippi River after a café au lait and beignets at Café Du Monde. Just don’t stay out too late; there will be lots of service work to be done J !
Volunteer Center Rules of Thumb
Ø If you open it – close it
Ø If you use it up – replace it
Ø If you turn it on – turn it off
Ø If you unlock it – lock it up
Ø If you move it – put it back
Ø If you borrow it – return it
Ø If you don’t know how to operate it – leave it alone
Ø If you need help- ask for it
Ø If you use it – take care of it
Ø If you break it – repair it
Ø If you can’t repair it – report it please
Ø If you mess it up – clean it up
Ø If it will brighten someone’s day – say it
Ø If you want to know – ask
Ø After 10 p.m. be quiet – people are sleeping
Ø If you brought it with you – take it home please (unless it’s change – there’s a cup for that J)
Ø Remember –take care of yourself and others.
Staying at the volunteer center costs $40.00 per person per night for individuals. For those who are not housed at the Center but are volunteering through the program, the cost is $15.00 per person per day. The Meal Program is included in lodging donation.
The Center often hosts multiple volunteer groups simultaneously, and we truly value the opportunity for people from across the country to come together to learn about and serve the community of New Orleans. In the past, we have found that groups really appreciate this chance to build community and make new friends. We will introduce group leaders who are living, working and learning together with the intention to connect groups before the trip to allow you to become acquainted and to set the framework for solid partnerships.
Bathroom and Task Schedules
Because facilities at the church are limited, we recommend that groups make schedules for both shower times and basic chores. If you're coming during a busy time, there will likely be other groups staying with you, so be prepared to plan a schedule with them. Please be aware that since we have only 5 shower stalls, you will be expected to take short showers!
You can access a cleaning check list:
*Wash linens with HE detergent (including bathroom rug)
*Properly Fold and put away linens and towels.
*Remove all trash and replace trash bags
*Check for personal belongings
*Wash, dry, put away all dishes, observing labels and signs when putting things away
*Sweep and mop floor
*Remove all personal leftovers (from eating out) from fridge before departure.
*Wipe and clean counters and work spaces, including the microwave
*Remove trash (to dumpster on Story St.) and replace with new trash bag
*Remove trash/replace trash bag
*Wipe down sink, toilet
*Sweep and mop floor
*Sweep and mop floor
*Disinfect Coolers (if applicable)
*Wipe and Clean all Tables and Chairs
Hallways and Stairwells
***Please remember to check for ALL PERSONAL BELONGINGS!
-Yep, look under beds, mattresses, in laundry room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms- thanks!
**Thanks in advance for keep our space clean and wonderful!
Cleaning supplies can be located in the upstairs janitorial closet or under the sink in the kitchen. This includes cleaning after meals, making sure the bathrooms stay clean, and taking out the trash. We recommend trash barrels be emptied once a day. Unfortunately, the church is not recycling at this time.
Here at the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal we love housing and helping our volunteers and we have a very small staff. We are in this recovery effort for the long haul and we need your help and cooperation to make this happen.
Work - While you are here volunteering you will be working with one or some of our many community partners' locations. There is a multitude of project sites to work on with a wide variety of organizations.
Food - The Center provides delicious, healthy meals, (including vegan meals on request). If volunteers need special diets or have severe allergies, they may need to provide supplements. We are committed to not wasting food so we tend to only buy what we believe will be sufficient. If volunteers would like snacks not found on the “help yourself shelf” or in the volunteer refrigerator, you are welcome to purchase them and store them in the kitchen or common room.
Facility - At the center we have bunk style housing with several bunks to a dorm. Thank you for being responsible for the space you share.
Staff Interactions - Because of our small number of staff members there are no live in staff members and the interactions with staff members is limited. We will not be with your group all the time. However we are in the office throughout the week and for orientation if there is anything you need that we can help with.
What to Bring
Because work sites are usually located a considerable distance from the Center, we require all groups provide their own transportation. For groups without transportation, we ask that you rent a vehicle for the duration of your stay in New Orleans. Public transportation is not reliable enough to get you to and from work sites in a timely manner.
Check out http://edit.travel.yahoo.com/p-resv-cars-msy-new_orleans for comparative car rental prices in New Orleans.
Also, be sure to bring:
o Cell Phones and chargers
o Prescription and over-the-counter medicines
o Health insurance card
o Clothing to wear to and from the shower
o GPS system (limited availability)
o Sunscreen and insect repellant
o A hat for the sun
o Water Bottle
o Shower shoes
o If you are a musician, feel free to bring your instrument.
o Personal first aid kit
o Work Clothing – If you are doing physical labor
§ Work Boots or other thick soled shoes (sandals are not permitted on work sites)
§ Long Pants
§ At least one shirt and pair of pants that you can paint in
The Center partners with many different organizations to provide a wide range of volunteer opportunities, including reconstruction, animal rescue, conservation of wetlands, and hunger relief, among others. For a full list of our partner organizations and the work they do, go to http://www.celsjr.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=42&Itemid=56.
Workplace safety is a priority in all volunteer placement sites. The most effective ways to avoid a worksite injury are to be prepared with proper clothing and safety equipment, and to be aware of your actions and your environment at all times. Following these simple rules should ensure an incident free work experience:
o As a rule of thumb, only perform duties you know how to do.
o Take preventative measures before your work week-make sure TB and tetanus shots are up to date. Please be sure to indicate the date of your last tetanus shot (on registration form.)
o Wear substantial, closed-toe shoes. Always look where you are stepping.
o Have a cap with a brim to shield you from the sun.
o Wear long pants to avoid minor cuts on your legs.
o Wear heavy gloves to avoid scrapes and blisters.
o Carry at least one first aid kit for your group.
o If you do get any scratches, clean the cuts right away using an antibacterial treatment.
o Bring water to your worksite. Check to make sure water at your worksite is safe to drink.
o Make sure you have a generous radius if you are swinging a hammer or bringing down a ceiling.
o Always have two people to a ladder (one steadying the ladder, while one is on the ladder).
o Be conscious of everything that is going on around you.
o If you have been given extra safety equipment, use it. This especially applies to masks, safety goggles and respirators.
o Be careful around exposed wiring and downed power lines. If you are not 100% sure that they are dead wires then don’t touch them.
o Watch out for animals that may have taken up residence in abandoned homes. Though rare, there have been poisonous snake and spider sightings.
o Leaders should always have medical and insurance information for their group.
o Take many breaks. If you start to feel tired grab some water and take a breather.
Nearby hospitals with 24 hour emergency rooms:
2700 Napoleon Ave
Take S. Claiborne Ave. east. At the first traffic light, turn right on Napoleon.
Alton Ochsner Foundation Hospital
1514 Jefferson Highway
Take S. Claiborne Ave. west for three miles. S. Claiborne turns into Jefferson Highway.
Touro Infirmary Hospital
1401 Foucher St.
Take S. Claiborne Ave. east. At the second traffic light turn right on Louisiana Ave. Continue on Louisiana for just over a mile until reaching Prytania St. Turn right on Prytania and follow signs to the hospital.
New Orleans Urgent Care
900 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130-3814
About a 10 minute drive from the Center. Turn right at S Claiborne, Right at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Left at St. Charles Ave, Right onto Andrew Higgins (at the traffic circle), Left at Camp, Right at St Joseph.
We have a complete list of hospitals in the area posted at the Center.
Shopping and Attractions
The Center is located close to several grocery stores and pharmacies, including a Walgreens and a CVS. Directions to these locations, as well as their hours of operation, can be found at link below.
For more ideas about fun places to go shopping, get good New Orleans food, and experience the New Orleans music scene, go to http://www.celsjr.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=46&Itemid=78.
South Louisiana is an amalgamation of coastal and continental climates, which means that New Orleans is generally warm and humid, but the weather can often be quite unpredictable. When coming to visit, it's always a good idea to be prepared for a variety of weather possibilities.
Rain - No matter when you come, it will probably rain. Most days in the summer, we have short afternoon thunderstorms, and the winter, spring and fall can bring full-day rains. Make sure to bring umbrellas and rain jackets! Also, be aware that street flooding is very common, so if you have low clearance vehicles, watch them if it starts to rain hard!
Heat - Late spring, summer, and early fall can be HOT. Make sure to drink lots of water, wear breathable clothing, protect yourself from the sun, and do not overexert yourself.
Cold - If you visit us in the winter, be aware that even though it almost never snows, it still gets cold in the winter. Be sure to pack sweaters, sweatshirts and coats. However, we still have temperatures in the 60s and 70s during the winter as well, so bring along some lighter clothes too. Dressing in layers is a good strategy for New Orleans winter.
For more information about the climate of New Orleans, go to http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USLA0338.
Tourism is the huge industry in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Visiting local landmarks and tourist attractions is actually a form of recovery assistance, so be sure and see why New Orleans was once described as “America’s Most Interesting City.”
For a list of open tourist sites, visit http://neworleansonline.com.
We talk funny down here, and it’s not what you typically see on TV and in the movies. Those sultry, thick Southern accents really belong in places like Mississippi, Atlanta and Virginia. Some New Orleanians have what we call a “Yat” accent, which sounds more like Brooklyn than Baton Rouge. No one really knows why people here sound like they do in New York, but some suggest it may be because the same groups of immigrants that came through New York also came to New Orleans. From 1890 to around 1950, for instance, the largest group of immigrants that came to New Orleans was from Sicily (one of the reasons we have such amazing Italian food.)
New Orleans residents have lost a huge piece of their lives. In addition to their possessions, homes and neighborhoods, their city is in ruins in so many areas. Many people love to tell their “storm stories,” and they love to see tourists and volunteers visiting. Don’t be shy. Say hello, tell them where you’re from and why you’re here. It will make their day. Don’t be surprised if you get hugged. However, some people might not always be willing to talk about their experiences, so be open to listening, but be careful not to seem pushy. Also, please don't take pictures of people without their permission. If you are taking pictures of people’s homes, do not shoot the address or anything that makes it identifiable.
Frequently Asked Questions
To learn about the Center’s FAQs go to: http://www.celsjr.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=46&Itemid=78.
Because of the fragile nature of New Orleans, the city will declare a mandatory evacuation if a hurricane is approaching Louisiana. Be prepared to leave the city should this occur, especially if you are coming during hurricane season, which runs from June to November. The Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge will help with your evacuation, but please bring bedding, water and food with you. Please familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and procedures, making note of what you will need to bring with you upon evacuation. You can find more detailed information, such as public shelter locations, emergency phone numbers, and maps of evacuation routes, in the Louisiana Citizen & Disaster Evacuation Guide. Copies of the Evacuation Guide are on the dining room book shelf.
1. Travel by car, when possible so that you can evacuate easily and independently. Be sure to gas up early and leave with a full tank. Fill up an extra tank if you can.
2. Bring all of your items with you. This includes clothes, bedding, personal items, medication and perishables. If New Orleans remains closed for an extended period of time, you may need to fly out of Baton Rouge or another nearby city (should the evacuation head in another direction).
3. Bring a first aid kit if you have one with you. This does not mean that you will be expected to perform medical duties in the shelter, but rather that you would be capable of handling small problems that you or your friends may encounter.
4. Bring all of your bottled water with you. Store it in sealed, unbreakable containers.
5. Bring all of your food with you. A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food is best. If you are buying items before evacuating, select foods that require no refrigeration and little or no water. For example, energy bars, ready-to-eat soup, peanut butter, etc.
6. Bring a battery-operated radio if you have one with you. Pick up extra batteries.
7. Bring personal items such as toilet paper, towelettes, tampons/pads, hand sanitizer and personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, etc.
8. Carry cash. ATM cards won't work if the power is out, so retrieve cash early.
9. Carry contact information. Carry a current list of family phone numbers and email addresses. You may not be able to charge your cell phone and certain areas may not have service, so be sure to have a hard copy of numbers of important friends and family.
10. Bring entertainment. You may be stuck in the traffic for a long time, so make sure to have plenty of books, music and games to keep you company.
11. Bring a map. Of at least the state — consider marking an evacuation route on it. For New Orleans’ recommended evacuation route, go to
Throughout your entire evacuation, please stay in contact with Deanna Vandiver at (504) 333-2718 and the Volunteer Coordinators at (504) 333 - 2719 or (504) 333 – 2720.
* Louisiana Emergency Alert System: In the event of an evacuation, the following stations will broadcast emergency information: AM 870 (WWL) FM 101.9 (WLMG)
*Information taken from Louisiana Citizen and Disaster Evacuation Guide
If you have already scheduled your trip and have questions, please contact the Director of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal, Deanna Vandiver:
Cell: 504) 333-2718
Office: 504)- 866-4170
Cell: 504)- 333-2719
Chef and Hospitlalitarian
Please enjoy your service-learning journey. Welcome to New Orleans and the Center!
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 20:48|
The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal is a catalyst in the New Orleans area for promoting social, economic, environmental and racial justice. We do this through activism, community engagement and transformational learning
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