Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday in New Orleans

Bonner Scholars awoke for an 8:30 a.m. congregation. During this time, the Bonners participated in a timeline activity, that chronicled the events before Hurricane until a few days into it's aftermath. Each participating Bonner was given one or two fact slips about Hurricane related events. The papers were numbered and the Bonners spoke consecutively in order, creating a flowing overview of the disaster. After reading the fact slips, students reflected briefly on the harsh series of events, while viewing snapshots of the disaster in action.

After the timeline activity, the Bonners drove into the French Quarter for breakfast and their first look at the heart of New Orleans. Passing many well-known streets and venues, Bonners were able to see what makes New Orleans shine. Splitting up for breakfast, students experienced a New Orleans' meal and conversed about the scavenger hunt that was to follow, among other things. At 11:30 a.m., they convened at a raised view point of the Mississippi River.

The scavenger hunt followed, with Bonners splitting into five teams with the goal of familiarizing with the city and to bond. A plentitude of pictures were taken of Bonners doing interesting things, such as wearing the famous New Orleans, serving food at local restaurant and important city locations. Bonners also had to interact with the local community as well as the many tourists to complete the scavenger hunt.

After the fun and excitement of perusing the city, Bonners were once again hit with the stark reality of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina during a driving tour of the cities most effected areas. The vans drove through various relatively desolate areas that impressed upon the Bonner scholars the actual reality of the hurricane destruction. For returning Bonners they were able to measure the current conditions against the benchmarks that they set the last time they visited the region. Bonners saw first hand many areas that were depicted in the Spike Lee documentary: When the Levees Broke, which they had watched before the trip.

The experience was enhanced by the rainfall and winds that reminded Bonners of how strong Hurricane Katrina was. The currents of Lake Pontchartrain were strong, due to the storm, which brought about speculation of what the conditions were like during the hurricane. After the driving tour, the Bonners returned to enjoy dinner, reflect on the day and relax to prepare for the forthcoming work week.

Randolph Portugal & Shaun Field

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