Thursday, Day 4, had a big variety of projects. We finished up our papier maché bowls using colorful tissue paper and glue, drew self-portraits, and worked on our photo-markers for the upcoming Art Exhibit.P1040026 Fr. Tony dropped in with his guitar and taught us some fun songs. A special surprise in the afternoon was the ice cream truck that parked in front of the church hall. With the help of a generous donation, we were able to treat the children, volunteers, and parish staff to an ice cream on a super-hot New Orleans afternoon. After camp, we walked down to the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas and walked through the Lower Mississippi Valley, Mexico, and all the way to the Amazon, observing water creatures and their changing habitats. From there, the volunteers spent time in the French Quarter and then rode the St. Charles Street Car back to Ursuline.

Friday was a day of mixed emotions—excitement and a twinge of sadness. P1040162In the morning we completed several projects begun earlier in the week, and then, while some of us took the campers out to sketch, the rest set up the “studio” (aka- church hall) for the Art Exhibit for the artists’ families to view. It was great to meet the families and share with them the joy and pride of so many art pieces done with such enthusiasm. We had refreshments, several presentations, singing, and laughter. It was hard to say goodbye to the children, and there were lots of hugs and “See you next year!”

Friday evening we had a special gift—the chance to visit the home of John and Vanessa and their two grandchildren. Over a shared meal of Po’Boys we heard their experience of P1040168living through Hurricane Katrina, losing everything, and the long road of creating a new life for themselves and extended family. Their faith, determination and resilience were inspirational to us.

As we prepare to go home on Saturday, we feel grateful for living this week here together, for all of the experiences we’ve had and the friendships we’ve made.

~ Taylor and Meg