Tagwi and Russell High School students helped victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

Seen in image above: Tagwa and Russell High School students stand in front of one of the houses they worked on in New Orleans. Courtesy photo

NEW ORLEANS — Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) students brought relief last week to people still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Forty-seven students from Tagwi Secondary School and Russell High School were in New Orleans helping to build homes for Habitat for Humanity in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette. The students arrived on Sunday, February 4 and assisted the organization with construction of three 900 square-foot bungalows. Students were involved with framing, installing windows, erecting roof trusses, installing shingles and painting.

This was the 10th time since the storm that Tagwi Construction Technology Teacher Jamie Poulin has led students on a trip to New Orleans to assist with ongoing recovery efforts. He says the experience benefited both victims and the students helping them.

“Helping out (the victims) is still very much necessary down there,” said Poulin in a phone interview.

“Chalmette is one of the areas particularly hard hit – worse than the French Quarter. It was a good experience for our students because it taught them the value of community and goodwill and to pay it forward.”

Students also heard first-hand how the storm had affected people’s lives when a man associated with the church hosting them related how he had lost everything in the storm.

“You could have heard a pin drop,” said Poulin.

Poulin said students also toured New Orleans’ famous French Quarter and visited the houses that Upper Canada students had helped construct last year.

Students left New Orleans on Sunday, and arrived back home on Monday.