An update from Matthew, director of the Alternative Breaks program and a junior majoring in public policy, economics and political science:

I was very excited for the Winter Alternative Break trip to New Orleans. This is my fourth Alternative Break trip, and I always learn something new and have an amazing time when I go.

This trip focused on rebuilding New Orleans, specifically houses, that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. There are still thousands who are homeless or unemployed in New Orleans since the hurricane, and who cannot afford to repair their homes themselves.

We served with an amazing organization called the Pheonix of New Orleans. We worked on five different houses during the week. I personally got a chance to rebuild a handicap-accessible porch for a house, as well as hang sheetrock for most of the week. It was a challenging task, and I was pushed personally, but it made it a worthwhile and memorable experience.

The work we did coupled with our activities within New Orleans really gave us a chance to begin to understand the impact and continued devastation of Katrina. I love the city and culture of New Orleans, and was happy to have a chance to help those in need. It was a great week, and I cannot wait for my next trip.