The senior spring break trip to New Orleans, now preparing for its third year, offers a special opportunity for a deepened understanding of American history—its failures and triumphs—through a lens that only a city like New Orleans can offer. An old multi-ethnic port city, New Orleans- with its nearby plantations, was one of the commercial hubs of the slave economy. The modern city—from its music and food to its institutions and politics—carries the complex legacy of that history. Artists, local historians and community organizers will show us how and why. After a weekend of learning, we will spend three days lending helping hands to community organizations with deep roots in the Lower Ninth Ward and other low-lying areas that still today have not fully recovered from the failed levees and flood waters caused by Hurricane Katrina. Local activists will tell us what it takes for a group of committed individuals to see and understand the root causes of a problem and become agents of sustainable change. Over our six days together, we will spend good hours creating a community of our own in our cozy bunkhouse (only two bathrooms for the lot of us!). We will cook breakfast for each other, watch and discuss Spike Lee’s documentary “When the Levees Broke,” listen to each other’s experiences of our days, and sit on the porch watching a southern afternoon rain. Of course, we’ll save some time for the French Quarter, beignets, and maybe our own “Stella!” shout-out in Jackson Square. Please apply.