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Spend your spring break helping to rebuild a historic American city. Damages from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 can still be seen throughout New Orleans. Work with local organizations to rebuild homes and participate in initiatives to help locals regain their sense of community. After work, explore the French Quarter, try some spicy jambalaya, snack on beignets, and relax and unwind as you listen to live jazz. This program will give you an appreciation for the unique culture of New Orleans and teach you what it takes to rebuild a home.

With our No Anxiety Escrow Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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2017 Departures

Starts Ends Availability
March 25 April 1 Very Limited
April 8 April 15 Sold Out

Program Profile

United States
Community Service Focus

  • Day 1

    Welcome to New Orleans!

    Arrive at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans where your Rustic Pathways staff members are waiting for you.

    Take a look around and you might already start to notice some differences between the Big Easy and your hometown. Situated on the edge of both the Mississippi River and mighty Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans has strong French, Spanish, African, and Native American roots.

    Drive to Rustic Pathways’ comfortable base house, meet the rest of the group, and enjoy a hot, local meal of Creole jambalaya. Watch a documentary on Hurricane Katrina to orient yourself on the recent history of the city, both before and after the storm. Go to bed and get a good night’s sleep for a big day in the French Quarter on Sunday. Welcome to the Crescent City!

  • Day 2

    French Quarter

    Open your eyes to the unique culture of the Crescent City, starting in the famous French Quarter. Shop in the French Market, eat some beignets, and spend some time on Royal Street where musicians play while people shop and explore the Quarter. Spend the afternoon enjoying local Cajun music followed by a team gumbo cook-off, judged by our hungry guides. After a long day, get some sleep for the start of service in the morning!

  • Day 3

    Begin Service

    Today begins your first day of construction service with SBP. You’ll start the day with a quick safety orientation and then head to the site where you’ll meet your site supervisors and get orientated with the house and projects for the week. After service take a ride through different neighborhoods in New Orleans to see how the city is still affect by Hurricane Katrina more than ten years later. For dinner, come home to a New Orleans staple, red beans and rice, followed by a quiet evening at Cafe du Monde eating beignets.


  • Day 4

    Building Momentum

    Return to your site to continue the progress from the previous day. Continue to hone new skills, build friendships and make progress on the work site. After a strong second day head back to the base house for dinner and then head uptown for ice cream at a local creamery.

  • Day 5

    Back to Worksite

    Today marks your third day on the job site. You’ll really start to hit your stride and your new skills will shine. After dinner head into the French Quarter to hear live jazz at the historic Preservation Hall.

  • Day 6

    Keep Working Hard

    As the week begins to wind down you’ll begin to see the progress you’ve made at the job site. You’ll have a new sense of confidence as you move through your projects using the new skills you’ve gained. After service head to Mardi Gras World to witness float makers prepping floats for the many iconic Mardi Gras parades. After dinner, head to Rock N’ Bowl where you’ll lace up your bowling shoes to the sounds of live music.

  • Day 7

    Last day of Service

    As your service comes to a close, work hard to finish up your project. At the end of the work day, take a walk around the house and appreciate the progress you’ve made.

    After dinner, cap off your week by heading down to the bayou for an airboat tour. Upon our return to the base, take part in a closing ceremony to discuss and internalize your experiences from the past week.




  • Day 8


    Spend the morning with the friends that you’ve made and enjoy one last hearty New Orleans breakfast before you return home to share your experiences and photos with your friends and family. Not long after your return, you will then understand what it means, to miss New Orleans.

    Laissez les bons temps rouler!!!!!

    “Let the good times roll”

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.

The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.

“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.

For more information, email usa@rusticpathways.com

Program-Specific FAQs

  • The students’ service projects will be both within the New Orleans city limits and in the surrounding parishes (counties). The group will stay at the base in the city every night, and no day trip will be outside Southeastern Louisiana.

  • Snacks, souvenirs, and other shopping excursions are not included.

  • They will be eating most meals at home base. Breakfast is usually cereal or bagels; students will pack their own sandwiches for lunch on mornings of service work. Dinner consists of local specialties (jambalaya, gumbo, red beans & rice, etc.) and American favorites. Groups occasionally go out to restaurants to experience local cuisine, which is covered in the trip cost. Meals overall are high-energy and nutritious, many times made with locally grown vegetables and regional ingredients. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated for; there will be a vegetarian/vegan/seafood-free option if required.

  • The Rustic Pathways students will be able to drink water from the tap during this program, but they will have the option to buy bottled water if they prefer. As New Orleans is in a hot climate, we require that every student has a refillable water bottle on hand at all times to stay hydrated. Water coolers will be provided at the worksite to keep students hydrated, and drinking water is encouraged and required by staff.

  • Students will be staying at the Rustic Pathways home base each night in bunk beds with separate rooms for boys and girls. The base is located in a residential neighborhood in the city; staff will be on site at all times and stay overnight with the students. Students are not allowed to leave the property unaccompanied, and will be “locked in” at designated times each night.

  • There are laundry facilities on-site, and detergent is supplied. Spring Break students are encouraged to bring enough laundry for the whole week, while Summer students typically bring two weeks’ worth of clothes and do a load of laundry depending on need.

  • Although we keep pretty busy during the trip, we do have down time. We usually have a guitar on hand. Feel free to bring your instrument if it is small and easy to carry – New Orleans has been known to inspire musicians to play. Rustic Pathways is not responsible for lost or stolen instruments.

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.

Rustic Gear. Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.


A school backpack or a similar sized bag is ideal.

  • Passport/Photo ID
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Change of clothes
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Medication
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts

Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.


  • Socks (8-10)
  • Underwear (8-10)
  • Pants/Capris/Jeans (2-4)
  • Shorts (4)
  • Long sleeved shirt (2-4)
  • Hoodie/sweatshirt (1)
  • T-shirt (8-10)
  • Tank tops (2-3)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Light jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Sandals
  • Hard-soled shoes/work boots
  • Sneakers
  • Hat


(travel sized containers packed in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash/Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Deodorant
  • Razor/shaving cream


  • Sleeping bag/Blanket
  • Bed sheets for twin sized bed
  • Pillow with pillowcase
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  1. a
    New Orleans, LA

    Population 379,000. This will be the main base for rebuilding programs.