April 10th, 2013
From March 23-30 I traveled with a group called WIT Travel to New Orleans. Two other high schoolers and me planned the trip with the goal of promoting the idea of teenagers everywhere making volunteering part of their travels. Below is my blog from day 4, more will be posted over the course of the week.
We woke up today with a hundred possibilities ahead of us. Over breakfast, we scoured the Best Western’s brochures for a historic/cultural activity. Sean, Sophie, and I each picked a brochure and pitched why we thought the whole group should spend the day on the experience. Ironically, we chose something none of us had originally pitched, a tour of a plantation house called Laura about an hour away from New Orleans.
Before we left the city, we stopped by KIPP School for the Creative Arts in the French Quarter. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by bright yellow walls and a line of smiling kids. We spoke with an employee, Ben, and he was really excited about the idea of a WIT partnership with the school. We only talked to him briefly, but to me it showed the power of a short, simple action to create a huge amount of potential.
We drove through bayou country, on another day with cold weather but a clear blue sky. When we got to the plantation, I was immediately struck by its beauty. There were towering, stately oaks, huge palm trees, and colorful flowers everywhere. It did not look like a place that holds some of the worst tragedies of our history. Our tour guide was great at showing us what the plantation was actually like when it was in operation, and I appreciated how he mixed the interesting stories and dramas with sensitivity and honesty. I was fascinated and saddened by the experience, but I left it with a much deeper perspective on the things I had read about in textbooks.
We had a wonderful, inexpensive dinner at Pizza Delicious. Later on, we ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and on our walk back to the hotel encountered an impromptu dance party to the sound of street musicians. It was a day full of unexpected twists, turns, sights, and sounds, and I’m so glad that it turned out the way it did.
WIT Travel with the Laura plantation owner, Norman Marmillion. The plantation is famous for its high quality historical tours
To learn more about our trip, visit facebook.com/WIT.Travel or follow WIT_Travel on Instagram and twitter.