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While progress has been made in the years since the levees breached during Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still has a long way to go to fully recover from the storm. Be part of the recovery process as you help rebuild homes and assist the city and surrounding parishes to become greener through grassroots initiatives. When not working on service projects, there will be time to enjoy the charm of this amazing city. This program is for students who are interested in learning about New Orleans’ recovery while experiencing the local culture and flavor of the area.

Dates listed reflect travel time departing from and returning to the USA. International clients click here.

With our No-Stress Travel 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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Program Profile

United States
Community Service Component
Community Service Focus
Get to Know
The People, The Sights
Settle in at the Base
Travel Component
Stationary Program

  • Day 1

    Arrive at Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans where your Rustic Pathways staff members eagerly await you at the airport.
    Take a look around and you might already start to notice some differences between the Big Easy and your hometown. Situated between the mighty Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans has strong French, Spanish, African and Native American roots.

    You will be greeted with southern hospitality and will feel the city’s energy everywhere you go. Drive to Rustic Pathways’ comfortable base house, meet the rest of the group, and enjoy jambalaya for dinner. Watch a documentary on Hurricane Katrina to orient yourself on the recent history of the city, both before and after the storm.

  • Day 2

    Get to know your new group with some team building activities. Then take a drive around New Orleans with the group to see firsthand the damage that was done when the city flooded. Learn where the levees breached, how it happened, and gain a sense of the level of destruction that currently remains in New Orleans all these years later.

    After a long day, spend the evening at the famous Café du Monde, taking in the coolness of night and relaxing with beignets and hot chocolate, then get some sleep for another big day in the morning.

  • Day 3

    Start your work rebuilding homes! Grab a hammer, a spackle knife, or some drywall and learn how to get the walls back up into homes that were flooded in 2005. There are thousands of homes in the New Orleans area that were under up to 20 feet of water after the levees broke, and many of those families have still not returned home. On Mondays, New Orleanians always eat red beans and rice served with fresh baguette and extra Cajun spice.

  • Day 4

    On the second day of home rebuilding, you’ll be getting the hang of rebuilding and can start quickly putting up drywall, installing flooring or painting so another family can come back home. In the evening, compete against other members of the group in a game of kickball or ultimate Frisbee in beautiful City Park.

  • Day 5

    Back to the work site! Then, it’s back out into the city to hear some local sounds at Historic Preservation Hall.

  • Day 6

    Continue your service project and talk to the locals about what life is like in the Crescent City. Listen to their stories about the storm and become amazed at the resiliency of New Orleanians. You’ll begin to understand why we are helping to rebuild this great city. Meet volunteers from across the globe who are coming down to help out, and learn what brought them here. Tonight, gumbo is on the menu…

  • Day 7

    Continue your volunteer work and see the tremendous progress that you have made during your stay in the Big Easy. After working hard all day, stop by the snowball stand and try yet another flavor of this local sweet. A barbecue in the evening will be a relaxing end to a week of hard work.

  • Day 8

    Check out one of the old plantations and then get some time to shop in the funky Garden District on Magazine Street where there are hundreds of stores and coffee shops to enjoy!

  • Day 9

    Spend the morning in one of the city’s great museums. Go for a walking tour of the French Quarter with your Rustic Pathways staff members and do some souvenir shopping in the French Market.

  • Day 10

    Your second week of service will start with work at school or urban gardens, planting, mulching, wedding, and hanging out with the garden pigs, goats, and rabbits. Beat the heat with a relaxing day at the pool after a morning of service.

  • Day 11

    Continue work on an urban gardening project to learn about the city’s access to healthy food. Many blighted properties have been changed into functional, producing gardens that both provide foods for residents and restaurants. This initiative also helps beautify neighborhoods that have been in decline since the mid-20th century. Spend the afternoon touring Tulane’s campus and check out the gift shop for some Riptide gear.

    At night, take a short drive out of town for an airboat tour through the swamp. The airboat guides will catch alligators and bull frogs with their bare hands and will teach you about the various plants and animals that call the swamp home! It will be a night you will truly never forget.

  • Day 12

    Spend your last day of service sorting food at the local food bank. After work, visit the Frenchmen Street Art Market to see local artists work, buy some souvenirs and explore a new section of the city.

  • Day 13

    Take a walk through the bayou and wrap up the trip with a final meal out with the friends you’ve made.

  • Day 14

    Spend the morning with the friends that you’ve made and enjoy one last hearty New Orleans meal before you return home and 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.

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

  • This program connects smoothly with Good Works and the Grand Canyon as well as our international programs.

  • The program operates primarily in the city of New Orleans with some activities and service projects in the surrounding areas.

  • Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also 
certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.


  • Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.

  • Rustic Pathways uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for students is potable and safe to drink. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.

  • Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.

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  • The weather in New Orleans is hot with a high percentage of humidity. Typical temperatures during the spring are between 70-90 degrees and humid. Due to the heat and humidity, rain and thunderstorms occur often.

  • Students will stay at our base house and will have access to hot showers, flush toilets, and accommodations similar to what is accustomed to in the United States.

  • The trip will consist of a variety of Cajun and Creole food such as jambalaya, gumbo, and po-boys. There will also be a mix of other dishes such as Italian, BBQ, salads, etc.

  • Flush toilets and hot showers will be available for the students to use.

  • Phone access will be available in the morning and at night. Students will not be allowed to have their cell phone during service and group activities.

  • Students are encouraged to follow the packing list provided on the website. Students should pack enough clothes for the duration of the trip, but in the case of necessity, laundry can be done at the base house once per week.

  • The heat and humidity impact everyone and is the biggest issue that is faced by the students. Proper hydration is essential.

  • The group will be transported by staff throughout the duration of the program.

  • The students will be within 30 minutes of definitive healthcare throughout the trip.

  • Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the HX Global and Centers for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.

  • HX Global is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to HX Global benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.

    As a member you will have access to HX Global’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our HX Global webpage.

  • New Orleans Children’s hospital is located 2 miles from the Rustic Pathways base house.

  • Yes, we can cater to all dietary restrictions as long as we are notified in advance.

  • Students are encouraged to use bug spray while on the program to prevent the chance of mosquito/insect bites.

  • Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.

  • $100-$200

  • Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.

  • Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community.
    Students will be involved in a variety of projects including service work in urban gardens/community centers, local school systems, and aiding in the rebuilding efforts.

  • Students will be engage in discussions relating to the rebuilding efforts, culture, education, and the importance of community as it relates to New Orleans.

    This program is based in New Orleans where it is very hot and humid during the trip. Students will spend the majority of each day outside completing service work, participating in activities, and experiencing the culture of New Orleans. The service work that will be completed is strenuous and students will be pushed both physically and mentally. Proper hydration is essential to the health and safety of the student while on the trip.

  • Musical instruments are always appreciated if they can be easily carried. They can be left at the Base House during the day while students are on projects. (Rustic Pathways is not responsible for instruments lost or damaged while on program.)

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Below is your packing list, and for those of you looking for some extra guidance on what to bring, check out the packing guide.

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 is ideal.

  • Passport/Photo ID
  • Photocopy/picture of passport/photo ID
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Chargers
  • Change of clothes
  • Hoodie/Sweatshirt
  • Raincoat
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Medication
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Additional community service forms
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
  • Snacks

Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal


  • Socks (8-14)
  • Underwear (14)
  • Pants/Capris/Jeans/Leggings (3-5)
  • Shorts (3-5)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1-2)
  • T-shirts/Tank tops (10-15)
  • Nice outfit for a night out – (1-2)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sandals
  • Hard-soled shoes/work boots (can be 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 or bed sheets for twin sized bed
  • Pillow with pillowcase
  • Headlamp/Flashlight

Important Reminders

  • Please bring appropriate attire for service days. Shorts should have a 3″ inseam or longer and tank tops should cover all undergarments.
  1. a
    New Orleans, LA

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