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cazzie's avatar

Looks like I could be doing some volunteer work with kids when I'm in New Orleans next month. Anything a naive foreigner should know?

Asked by cazzie (24516points) May 17th, 2011

The good news is that I’ll be there for 2 weeks, the bad news is that hubby has to work so I have to find something for me and the little man to do. I’ve contacted a few groups and one got back to me and it sounds really promising. They’re nationwide and legit, but is there anything else I should know about helping out?

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19 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Have you been watching the weather for New Orleans?

cazzie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Umm.. it’s been hot? I might have to do something about my wardrobe and buy a few more pairs of shorts. That’s a good point.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cazzie There’s a big assed wall of water called the Mississippi River headed that way. Be careful.

BarnacleBill's avatar

There’s lots to do with children in New Orleans, ranging from the Storyville to the aquarium, to just the local color. Riding the street cars is fun, and there are all sorts of local color, musicians, etc. The city is a major shipping port, so there’s all sorts of boat traffic to watch.

What @Adirondackwannabe is referring to the the major flooding that’s happening up river. The midwest US has been deluged by rains this spring, and the upper Mississippi, Wabash, Missouri and Ohio Rivers all flow into the Mississippi River. The Corps of Engineers is blowing up levees in upper Louisiana and Mississippi to flood farmland, in order to avoid flooding New Orleans. You could find yourself in the middle of a flooded city, as New Orleans is below sea level.

cazzie's avatar

I heard about the Mississippi flooding, but it hasn’t affected New Orleans, or I guess that’s ‘yet’. It’s a work trip for my husband and I am finally, after 8 years, getting to go along on one and connect it to our summer vacation. I guess it would be just my luck that we end up getting a paid trip and it all goes to *hit. So… Pack a survival kit and water wings for the Little Man. Gotcha. (now, is not looking forward to the trip so much)

The volunteer work is based at charter schools in the area, so I won’t be taking kids in my car anywhere. (wouldn’t be allowed to anyway, for the crazy insurance reasons)

bkcunningham's avatar

@cazzie, are you asking what to watch out for regarding volunteering with the volunteer groups?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would think most of the volunteering work would be fairly straight forward. You can check out the charities on line or check with the IRS or state government to see if they’re legit. We’re not that bad of a bunch usually.

jaytkay's avatar

If a kid on Bourbon Street bets you $5 he can tell you where you got your shoes, don’t take the bet ;-)

bkcunningham's avatar

@jaytkay on your feet, in the street. Now gimme my $5! Engager beware. Is that what you meant @cazzie?

cazzie's avatar

@jaytkay haha… this isn’t my first time to New Orleans, but it’s my first time back after Katrina. I was trying to get there sooner, and was even considering moving there but family commitments in Norway prevents us from going.

@bkcunningham Well, yeah… I guess so. Will they continually ask for cash donations? Are they respectful? I have forms to fill in and they are asking for a social security number. I’m not filling that in.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it would depend on the organization @cazzie.

Maybe this will help a little:

For any weather concerns and peace of mind, I’d sign up for this:

Things to do:

janbb's avatar

I would think if it is a reputable charity they will give you an orientation that would be more helpful than anything we could give you. Except for the shoe scam which my BIL fell for and was a laugh, I felt very safe in New Orleans. I would pay attention to the river though, as @Adirondackwannabe says.

cazzie's avatar

OK… I feel better about this. Since I asked the question, I looked further into the charity. The only thing I was a bit skeptical about is, it seems, in their past, they were run and promoted ‘Evangelical Salvation’ so I sure hope they don’t try to convert me or feed my son any evangelical scare tactics. It doesn’t seem to be the case now, though and they seem more inclusive.

I’ll certainly be taking the little guy to the zoo and bug park. Those look great and he loves that stuff, and with my background, I think a trip to the Museum of Pharmacy looks very cool, but that might have to be an afternoon I get to myself… (if that is going to be at all possible… probably not…)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@cazzie You can also apply for an ITIN (individual tax id number) in place of the social security number. If you need any help with it PM me. Otherwise, welcome to the USA!

cazzie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe They only want the social security number as a form of ID to do a background check. I’d give them my personal number here in Norway, if I thought it would help. I think the best thing is to give them references from the US, of people who know me and my husband, otherwise they’d be ringing all over the world for people who know me and places I’ve worked. But thanks for the offer.

obvek's avatar

I’m in NOLA right now and have been for a couple of days. I was also concerned about the river before coming but was assured by friends that there’s no way they’ll let New Orleans flood due to the river level. Also, I think it is supposed to crest this week, and I walked the levee yesterday. It was high, but there was still room to go

If a hurricane or big rain came through, then that could be a problem, but they haven’t seen good rain in months. The grass is kind of brown, which is weird for New Orleans.

As far as volunteer orgs go, there’s a ton of civic pride here, so no doubt there is lots to choose from. If you want a locals opinion, you might try starting with and see if there’s a forum.

cazzie's avatar

@obvek Thanks for that…

cazzie's avatar

(actually, I’m really glad we didn’t move there when the opportunity arose. My husband would have most likely been on the Deepwater Horizon Platform.)

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