This last spring break I had the incredible opportunity to travel down to my home state of Louisiana and the beautiful city of New Orleans for a service trip with eleven of my fellow Duhawks. Going into the 18 hour car drive down, part of me knew what we were walking into, but I had never helped try and fix any of it.
Hurricane Katrina happened over 12 years ago and New Orleans is still struggling to get back on its feet. Since the beginning, Loras has been going down to help in whatever way we can, and this is something I greatly admire about our beloved school. However, there is only so much we can do in a little less than a week. My experience there was wonderful in more ways than one. While it felt wonderful to be “home,” it also made me pretty sad that people were still struggling 12 years later.
The Sunday before we began any work we all attended Mass together ,and during the homily something was said that stuck with us the rest of the trip: “Will you wash your hands of this?” Very quickly that homily became our theme for the rest of the week. Over the next four days we worked on a few house projects, painting one house, working on mudding and drywall in another, and priming in the last. At first the work didn’t seem like that big of a deal, but as the days progressed and the more stories we heard, we began to realize that it mattered so much to the individuals that asked for our help.
We worked hard throughout the week and even finished a project, however, when Friday rolled around none of us were ready to leave. I remember during our last group meeting some of us were in tears because we wanted to stay and continue our work, but we were reminded of our ongoing theme that week, “Will you wash your hands of this?” We all said that we would continue to work and serve others and that we would not “wash our hands of this.”