The Katrina Chronicles, an Alternative
Spring Break program offered at Ramapo College of New Jersey
in March of 2006, was a once in a lifetime opportunity for students
to walk in the moccasins of Hurricane Katrina survivors and
to help them rebuild their homes and lives. Furthermore, it
was an opportunity to interview and to record the victims’
one-thousand untold stories and to use the written word, photography,
and other media to retell those tales in a online “Zine”
to be published by the participants.
Students on this trip were placed on crews completing recovery
projects in communities hit by the disaster, including Biloxi,
MS and New Orleans, LA. Participants undertook diverse reconstruction
and volunteer support activities including debris removal, tree
removal, construction, sheetrock hanging, painting, building
repairs, and preparing volunteer meals.
The trip reflection started with a critical examination of the
history of the region, as well as an exploration of the role
of social policy within prevention and relief efforts.
While no formal construction experience was necessary, this
trip challenged participant’s comfort zones in many ways.
The dialogues were intense and the work was strenuous. However,
all of the work was transformative for the participants.