Today was our first full day in New Orleans, and it was a jam packed. It began with an orientation session at SBP (Saint Bernard Project), the company we would be building houses with. We learned about how they have helped rebuild New Orleans, and how they are one of the last organizations still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina. We then split into two groups to go to various activities. One group began with construction at the house we would be working on, mudding and sanding the walls. The labor, especially in the heat and humidity of New Orleans, made us truly appreciate how much time and effort went into building homes, and realize how hard the rebuilding process from the category 5 hurricane actually would be. After work, we headed over to the famous Armstrong Park for a picnic lunch. After lunch, we headed over to the lower 9th ward, the area most heavily affected by the storm. I must not have truly taken in New Orleans the night before, but while driving to the 9th ward and around it, I really recognized how much the area was hurt. Even 12 years after the storm, dilapidated buildings were everywhere, many lots were empty from houses just floating away, and more. We got to see a few of the different kinds of levees that are supposed to control water flow in New Orleans. We also saw the wetlands right outside the ninth ward, a man-made swamp that is attributed for much of the damage and flooding that occurred in the 9th ward. After heading home to shower, we went over to the Casablanca restaurant for a delicious kosher Mediterranean meal. We then headed over to the French Quarter to wait in line at Preservation Hall for a jazz performance, which was beyond incredible. We then ran in the rain to our separate vehicles and headed home.