For the first time ever, we are expanding our domestic efforts and hosting a humanitarian trip to Louisiana in the summer of 2021. We will be spending our time in and around New Orleans working with various partners. The trip will focus primarily on nutrition education, food poverty + hunger in America, sustainability + public health, and food systems with an emphasis of farm-to-fork. It will be lead by two incredible Registered Dietitian Team Leads & be documented by a professional photographer.
New Orleans is a city in Louisiana on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its vibrant live-music scene, unique dialect, annual celebrations and festivals and spicy, distinct Creole cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival known for over-the-top costumed parades and street parties. Cultural innovation makes up this city’s history, with developments ranging from jazz, gospel music, jazz funerals and Creole cuisine.
New Orleans is world-famous for its food, and its locals take immense pride in their hometown cuisine. It has its influence from French and Spanish colonists, as well as Cajun and Creole settlers.The food has been passed down by generations, and residents will claim that their grandmother’s jambalaya is the best and will invite you over for dinner just to prove it – that is ‘Nola love.
Unique specialties include beignets – square-shaped fried doughnuts, served with coffee with chicory, (known as café au lait); po’ boys and Italian muffuletta sandwiches; Gulf oysters, boiled crawfish, and other seafood dishes; jambalaya, gumbo, and other Creole dishes; and the Monday favorite of red rice and beans – you won’t find a restaurant, school cafeteria or nursing home that doesn’t offer red rice and beans on a Monday!
The city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, when the levees protecting the city were breached and nearly all of the city was flooded. The storm and its aftermath killed hundreds, caused massive property damage, and forced a full-scale evacuation of the city. You can still see the effects of the devastation today, especially in the food access disparities across the city. The hurricane severely affected the food retail infrastructure, reducing the amount of supermarkets and residents’ access to fresh food. This food insecurity problem has led to a number of negative health outcomes in the population, including rising levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Despite this traumatizing moment in the city’s history, New Orleaneans are some of the warmest people you will ever meet and celebrate life whenever they can. It is not unusual to see a brass band parade (known as a “second line”) march by on a casual afternoon or see the whole street turn into a dance party for the beloved Saints football team – Who Dat! There are endless things to do and explore, from the historic French Quarter to the breathtaking oak trees of City Park. You can dig deeper into the culture by visiting a Voodoo shop, based on the Afro-American religion that originated in Haiti, or take a ghost tour of the city’s most infamously haunted locations. The blending of cultures, heritages and spiritualities make New Orleans a place to continuously learn from and discover.
To learn more & apply click HERE.