Students Participate in Historic Green New Orleans
(April 4, 2008) -- Professors Bill Dupont and Dr. Shelley Roff led a group of eight students to New Orleans over Spring Break to participate in Historic Green, an unprecedented volunteer opportunity to help the residents of the Lower 9th Ward, the area most devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in August of 2005. For two weeks in March hundreds of students, architects, engineers, planners, interior designers, landscape architects, and contractors converged to help revitalize this community by integrating sustainable practices with preservation of a place.
The UTSA group was comprised of architecture undergraduates Matthew Anaya, Brady Renner, and Allison Warren; interior design seniors Pamela Castillo, Joshua de la Fuente, Annette Guardiola, and Katherine Montano; and graduate student Chris Gonzalez. It was an action-packed week filled with as much fun as hard labor. The students helped build rain gardens to beautify the neighborhood with indigenous plants and retain storm water; and they aided in the deconstruction and rehabilitation of three historic buildings, including one aiming for LEED Platinum Certification. They visited local residents in the community for Green Light New Orleans, a non-profit organization that replaces light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents, for free. Other activities were the renovation of an abandoned playground and the design and construction of a staircase on wheels for the new community center.
Every night students roamed the French Quarter, taking in the fabulous music venues and unusual hideouts such as the Rock-and-Bowl. Historic Green provided hospitality with a local flavor: a fabulous jazz concert alongside the Mississippi River, a Cajun crawfish boil, plus tours of the Lower 9th Ward including the bayou, the beautiful 19th and early 20th century architecture, and the most devastated zones.