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Your informational guide

For questions, comments or concerns, please call 800-985-8232.


As a special treat for Tourism Cares volunteers, National Geographic filmmaker Jon Bowermaster has extended a complimentary screening of his film, After the Spill.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast of Louisiana. Five years later the Deepwater Horizon exploded and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the worst ecologic disaster in North American history. Amazingly, those aren’t the worst things facing Louisiana’s coastline today. 

We strongly suggest you find the time to watch the film - it’s powerful and tells the story of the disappearing coastline in Louisiana.

The film can be viewed here:

Video Link: https://vimeo.com/277184425
Password: oceans8

Our program kicks off in the Blaine-Kern Foyer of the Marriott Downtown at the Convention Center (859 Convention Center Blvd) with a second line parade to our opening reception. 

We arrive in style to The Chicory (610 S Peters St), for our opening networking reception hosted by New Orleans & Company.

Our kickoff is completely casual and creates the space to meet community partners and your fellow volunteers. Build personal and professional relationships while being hosted with beer, wine, cocktails and food courtesy of our generous hosts, New Orleans & Company.

For those who cannot make the reception on Thursday evening, registration will be available at the Convention Center on Friday morning at 8am. 

For anyone driving to the reception, street parking is available. 

Wednesday, September 19

5pm - 6:30pm: Special reception for early arrivals (by advance sign-up only)

Join us at The Ernest N Morial Convention Center, (900 Convention Center Blvd) on The Terrace located above the Julia Street Entrance for a networking reception for volunteers and New Orleans locals hosted by the Convention Center and SKAL New Orleans. Beer, wine and light hor d'oeuvres provided. This reception is currently sold out. Click here to see if you've signed up.

Thursday, September 20

Optional tours available (advance sign-up required)

For those signed up, click here for important details including where to meet, what to wear, etc.

2:00pm - 4:30 pm: New Orleans Walking Cocktail Tour by Urban Adventures

3:30pm – 5:00 pm (Guests should arrive by 3:15 pm): Mardi Gras World Behind the Scenes Tour

5:30pm: Volunteers gather in the Blaine-Kern Foyer at the Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center (859 Convention Center Blvd)

Grab a beer (thank you Marriott!) and join us in a second line parade to the opening reception! 

6pm - 7:30pm: Opening Reception at The Chicory (610 S Peters St) hosted by New Orleans & Company

Volunteers are invited to pick-up their registration materials, network with their teammates for the next day and get prepped for the work day.  Beer, wine, cocktails and food served.

Can't be there on Thursday? Well, we will miss you! But good news, registration will be available Friday morning at The Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd) at 8am in the Rivergate Room (adjacent to the Julia Street entrance).

Have fun (but not TOO much fun) in New Orleans on your own that evening! 

Check out these preferred restaurants, vendors and things to do in the city.

Friday, September 21

PLEASE remember to eat breakfast before you depart for the event! 

DON'T FORGET to bring your provided backpack and water bottle with you, filled. We also ask that you wear your official event t-shirt and bring your provided bandana which signifies your worksite assignment. 

8am: Volunteers arrive to the Ernest N Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd) to register in the Rivergate Room, meet their team, hear from our sponsors and receive instructions for the day. 

Volunteers staying at the Marriott Downtown at the Convention Center can walk across the street to the Convention Center. We suggest entering at the Julia Street entrance.

For those driving, we suggest using the J Lot for $5 daily parking. Parking fees are the responsibility of the volunteer. 

8:45am: Volunteers begin to board buses based on their work assignment and head to work sites! Transportation provided by Louisiana Motor Coach.

To reduce the number of cars on the road and parking at our worksites, we highly encourage volunteers to take provided transportation from the convention center. 

9am/9:15am: Work begins!

Water and granola bars will be available at each worksite. Lunch, provided by Cafe Reconcile, will be picked up in the morning during the opening at the convention center and volunteers can eat at their leisure during the day. 

Work gloves and all the tools needed to comfortably get your project completed will be available on site.

3pm: Work wrap-up and clean-up begins. Volunteers board coaches for closing celebration. 

3:30pm - 5:30pm: We did it! Closing celebration at Jazz Market, hosted by The Louisiana Office of Tourism and the Tourism Cares Board of Directors.

Our closing reception brings the group back together to share stories from the day, connect with our worksite partners in a more relaxed atmosphere and most importantly, allows an opportunity for our group to be entertained by incredible local jazz musicians. 

Cafe Reconcile will provide a true Louisiana feast for us and a drink ticket for beer, wine and specialty cocktail provided. Cheers! 

5:30pm: Program Concludes. Transfer available back to host hotel. 

Who doesn't want to spend the weekend in New Orleans?! We hope you'll stay. Check out these fun things to do, attractions nearby and our preferred tour options.

APEX Youth Center - Blue Group:

Apex Youth Center provides a safe space for teenagers to come together and facilitates positive social interaction to resolve conflict and create lasting relationships. They also provide tutoring services and space for the teenagers to explore what they enjoy and are good at from music, sports, art, computers, and beyond.

Tasks:

Volunteers will be renovating a number of classrooms throughout the APEX facility. Moving furniture, waxing floors, cleaning, organizing and beautifying the facility by weeding, general clean-up, etc. A range of tasks is available, volunteers can choose a task they are comfortable with. Be prepared to lift, bend and carry heavy furniture.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Jericho Road Housing Initiative - Yellow Group:

Jericho Road is a community organization focused on transforming the landscape of Central City one block at a time. One of they ways in which they do this is by building and providing affordable homes to the local community. Not only that, they provide education and support through the home ownership experience by providing classes on home attainment and ownership, even after the resident is in their new home. They also strive to make sure that the neighborhood itself is one that the residents can take pride in.

Tasks:

Volunteers will help “bling the block” of a Jericho Road neighborhood in Central City. They will work directly with the homeowners, painting exteriors of houses, mulching and garden maintenance, planting, helping residents hang decorations to the exterior of their houses and more.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • Layers - bring a long sleeved shirt to protect arms from vegetation/sun

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Groundwork Volunteers- Red Group:

Groundwork New Orleans is an organization dedicated to changing the way the city interacts with nature. They have multiple programs throughout the city including rain gardens, an Earth Lab featuring green architecture, water testing/mapping, and more. Groundwork believes that the city's architecture should work with, instead of against the environment and in today's climate, this belief is essential to New Orleans' survival. Volunteers will be working at the KIPP Leadership School, a tuition-free, public charter school open to all students. KIPP schools are united by a common mission, a commitment to excellence, and a belief that if we help children develop the academic and character strengths they need for college and choice filled lives, they will be able to build a better tomorrow for themselves, for their communities, for us all.

Tasks:

Volunteers will be spread throughout the campus, planting trees, repairing bioswales (landscape elements designed to concentrate or remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff water), building benches, general litter abatement and invasives removal.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • Layers - bring a long sleeved shirt to protect arms from vegetation/sun

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Woodlands Conservancy - Orange Group:

The Woodlands Conservancy is dedicated to preserving and restoring one of Louisiana's remaining wetland forests while simultaneously providing an ecosystem dedicated to providing public opportunities for recreation, ecotourism, and education in a natural and historic setting. The work they do is additionally important as Louisiana's coastal forests are imperative to the survival and continuation of migratory birds who stop daily in Louisiana to rest and feed.

Tasks:

Volunteers will split into groups and cut down invasive tallow trees; gather tree protectors, weed barriers and staples, clear bird banding net lanes, clear vines and limbs encroaching on trails, remove vines and debris from bridges, clear fallen branches, etc.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • Layers - bring a long sleeved shirt to protect arms from vegetation/sun

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Recirculating Farms - Green Group:

The RFC strives to promote a community of eco-friendly farms that focus on using clean recycled water to grow local and accessible foods and create stable green jobs. They are focused on also inspiring environmental advocacy and literacy and promoting a culture of reuse. Their gardens in New Orleans not only provide a space for education and environmental advocacy, they also work with the women of a local homeless shelter to grow food and provide a safe space to interact with the environment.

Tasks:

Volunteers will split into a number of groups and paint/stain garden boxes, repair fencing, mulch, plant seeds, clear out chicken coops and other tasks as needed.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • Layers - bring a long sleeved shirt to protect arms from vegetation/sun

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Audubon Nature Institute - Purple Group:

The Audubon Nature Institute is involved in a wide variety of conservation programs and nature centers. They are dedicated to preserving and educating visitors on the beauty of the natural Louisianian environment and its wildlife.

Tasks:

Volunteers will remove tree and debris along trails, as well as tallow tree removal.

What to wear:

  • Provided TC t-shirt

  • Long pants

  • Layers - bring a long sleeved shirt to protect arms from vegetation/sun

  • CLOSED toe shoes

Event locations on Thursday are walkable from the Marriott Downtown at the Convention Center. For those staying outside of the block, we encourage uber/lyft or taxi transfer to the Marriott.

For those driving, parking is the responsibility of the volunteer. 

To alleviate traffic, emissions and parking issues, we highly encourage volunteers to grab a seat on our transfers on Friday morning from the Convention Center. For those staying at the Marriott, please walk across the street to the convention center and enter at the Julia Street entrance

For those driving, parking on Friday is $5 at the J Street Lot and is the responsibility of the volunteer.

Transfers will be available from the closing at Jazz Market back to the hotel at 5:30pm.  

The opening reception on Thursday is casual. 

For the volunteer day, Tourism Cares will provide you with an official event t-shirt - with the front logo designed by Shanti Victoria Broom, a 17 year old native New Orleanian who is a member of Young Aspirations, Young Artists (YAYA), a youth arts program that works to empower young people by teaching mixed media and entrepreneurship for marketing and selling their creations. Learn more about Shanti by clicking here.

Please see each individual work project for a listing of what to wear and what to bring with you including proper foot wear, etc. Your safety is our #1 priority, so volunteers who are not dressed appropriately for their work assignment will not be allowed to participate. 

Ahh September in the South! We can expect temperatures in the mid-80s with hot and humid conditions for our volunteer day, although weather does vary this time of year. We ask that you are prepared for a hot day. Hydration is key during this event - so please make sure to drink plenty of water, which we will provide at each worksite. 

Although it will be hot, we suggest wearing/bringing breathable layers to protect you from the sun. 

The event will take place rain or shine and we will provide ponchos in the event of inclement weather. Please check the weather that morning - and your emails or call the event hotline 1-800-985-8232 in case severe weather delays us that morning. 

We will make sure you don't go hungry during our event! Hor d'oeuvres will be served on Thursday evening. Dinner is on your own that evening if you are still hungry after the event.

For Friday, breakfast is on your own so please eat before arriving to the Convention Center. 

Granola bars will be available for a snack and a sandwich lunch will be provided. A Louisiana style buffet will be provided in the afternoon at Jazz Market. 

There are so many amazing restaurants in New Orleans. Casa Borrega (where the TC team will be hanging out for dinner on Wednesday night!) is offering a special discount for volunteers with this coupon, and there are also a lot of local and sustainable restaurants to try out when in town. Click here for a listing of restaurants and other fun stuff to do while in New Orleans.

Want more? Check out My Life City and Propeller to find local businesses and social enterprises throughout the city. 

We would strongly suggest leaving any valuables at the host hotel during our work day on Friday as we cannot guarantee there will be a safe place to store them while you work and there will not be enough room in the vehicles for luggage. 

We will provide a backpack (thank you MaCher!) to keep your necessary belongings with you for the day. 

  • Layers! We know it's hot, but the sun is strong in New Orleans in September.

  • Clothing and shoes you do not mind getting dirty

  • Hat

  • Raincoat

  • A reusable water bottle (we will have TC branded ones available - thank you Halo Branded Solutions! - if you don’t want to bring your own)

  • A smile and positive attitude :) This is going to be so much fun!

Please post from your worksite on your own social media sites! Use the hashtag #WhenTourismCares. Follow and tag us at @TourismCares

We are doing our best to be as sustainable as possible during our program in New Orleans. We want to make more of an impact and less of a footprint. Here's what you can expect:

  • We are minimizing plastic use, so all volunteers will receive a refillable water bottle and water stations will be available at each worksite. Want to bring your own water bottle? Please do. Our bottles can be used at future events going forward. Any cutlery, plates, cups used at our receptions are also compostable and made from renewable materials (like corn!).

  • Any left over food on Thursday or Friday will be donated locally to support the community and eliminate food waste.

  • It wouldn't be New Orleans without those crazy and colorful beads but if you don't want to take them home, please drop at the door at both the Thursday and Friday receptions. We will be donating any unwanted beads to ArcGNO to reduce waste and eliminate more plastics from our landfills.

  • Our backpacks are reusable so if you don't want to take yours home with you and it's in good shape, please drop at the door on your way our of the closing reception on Friday.

  • Our name badges are made of recycled materials - and they can be reused. If you don't want to bring yours home as a memento, please drop at the door on your way out of the closing reception on Friday.

  • We will provide recycling bags to all groups - no matter what your project, if you see plastics laying around, grab a bag and fill it. Our leaders will work with the city to have recycling picked up separately from the trash.

  • We encourage carpooling and utilizing our provided transportation. We don't want 150 cars on the road!

Our attendees always make an impact with the hands-on work accomplished during our volunteer days. But it goes further than that. Meeting these local non-profits and connecting them to the tourism market can make real change in their businesses. We've selected these worksites because they are changemakers in New Orleans. Their daily work is moving the city in a positive direction and your support is deeply appreciated. 

In addition to our worksites, Tourism Cares is working with local partners dedicated to making a difference in New Orleans:

Cafe Reconcile: Our catering on Friday is provided by this incredible social enterprise, a workforce training kitchen committed to addressing the system of generational poverty, violence and neglect in the New Orleans area. Their job training program assists young people (ages 16–24) from severely at-risk communities who desire to make a positive change in their lives. These young people possess a deep desire to break the cycle and become productive, contributing members of society.

Jazz Market: Our closing reception venue, Jazz Market, is a non-profit and the only stand-alone facility in New Orleans designed specifically for Jazz. It was thoughtfully crafted to be a performing arts venue and Jazz community center for the Central City neighborhood and Greater New Orleans region. Serving as a venue to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, they believe Jazz can be the catalyst for positive and permanent change in their community. 

YAYA: New Orleans is a city of incredible talent, from musicians to artists. YAYA’s mission is to empower creative young people to become successful adults. They provide educational experiences in the arts and entrepreneurship to New Orleans-area children and youth, fostering and supporting their individual ambitions. Shanti Broom re-imagined our logo for our event t-shirt, bringing the spirit of New Orleans alive. 

ArcGNO: Any unwanted beads from the event will be donated locally to not only eliminate waste, but also to support a program that has been in existence for more than 30 years. ArcGNO has created wage-earning jobs for individuals with intellectual disabilities by collecting, sorting, & repackaging Mardi Gras throws. Your donation supports local jobs and supports the mission of the organization - to secure for all people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to develop, function, and live to their fullest potential.

Working with organizations like these makes ripples in the community. There are incredible opportunities for the tourism market to connect with these kinds of companies - like choosing to provide dining opportunities for your customers/clients at a social enterprise in any city where you do business (they're all over the place!). Supporting social enterprises reinvests revenue directly back into the local community. This allows them to tackle social problems, improve people's life chances, support communities and help the environment

We will explore these concepts throughout the program and provide the tools needed to help incorporate into your own business. 

We have 200 volunteers coming from 4 different countries, 31 states and 81 companies. For a full list of our volunteers, click here.