Our Trip To New Orleans


Laissez les bons temps rouler—or “Let the good times roll!”

We certainly let the good times roll this spring break when we went to New Orleans, but our objective was probably far from most other visitors. We took 15 of our high school kids to visit the historical Louisiana city to explore their historical roots and visit colleges, including two historically black universities: Dillard University and Xavier University.

When we got to Dillard’s campus early on a Friday morning in March, our students and team stood in awe at the beauty and possibilities of the institution. As we ventured through Dillard’s campus we were able to meet with students, see the dorms, spend time in the student centers, and most importantly, learned about the possibilities of obtaining a higher education. At the end of our visit, Dillard decided to waive the application fees for ALL of our kids who apply! With the financial hurdle out of the way, we have several kids who are applying and learning more about what it takes to be successful in higher education! This was a huge gift for their future and we are thrilled!

Although the trip was filled with hope, we also challenged our kids to consider the injustices that were happening in the city and state. Will Snowden with the Vera Project invited us in to learn about their work with ongoing fight to reduce mass incarceration of minorities and restore voting rights to felons who have served out sentences and wish to rejoin society fully. We also spent time at Studio Be, which is incredible artistic expression of remembering and retelling the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, as well as the struggle of the nation to care for all of her children in the aftermath. Kea Westbrook, Director of Changing the Narrative at Behind Every Door, described experience as “heavy to our hearts, yet so inspiring.” We ended the trip on a lighter note by enjoying the great food and culture of New Orleans! We visited the French Quarters to enjoy seafood, pralines, and po-boys! As we made our way home, we heard the teens say that their favorite part of the trip was the “road trip” itself. They loved the ride, the bonding time, the conversations—a family vacation of sorts.

We are so honored to be ‘family’ with these kids and get to introduce them to such transformational experiences thanks to the generosity of our partners! Stay tuned for our larger trip to Atlanta this summer!

Let us know below, why is higher education important to you? We’d love to hear your responses down below!

Contributors to this post were Jasmine Morris, Amanda Knode, and Kea Westbrook