Volunteer Accommodation in New Orleans

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

I have had so many volunteers ask me where they can stay in New Orleans and not pay too much per night. Well, here is some information on that subject.

For large groups - Hands On has accommodations for 70 people at $20/night including meals
please contact them at 504-899-5589 or volunteer@handsonneworleans.org

I also have a contact out in Arabi who has a school and has set up cots in the classrooms. There is room for large groups but there are only 2 bathrooms and 3 showers. If you can find nothing else and this is an option please call 504-444-1070 and ask for Aaron.

The India House Hostel is $17 per bed in their dorm style rooms and $45 for a private room. Please see http://www.indiahousehostel.com/

We are also looking into renting a house and may be able to offer accommodations for a few volunteers. Prices will depend on whether a private room or just a sofa bed is available. $12 - $20 per person. Please call 1-800-370-2420 for more info.

Please check out our website at http://www.onsiterelief.com/ for more info.

Transportation in New Orleans

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

OnSite Relief Inc. is still looking to get a passenger van donated so that we can offer our volunteers transportation. Until we get a van we ask that volunteers meet at our office in the morning and carpool to job sites.

Here is a link to the New Orleans bus routes and schedules.
http://www.norta.com/routes/

Some organizations in New Orleans are lucky enough to have vans and can transport their volunteers while other’s are like us and ask that volunteers provide their own transportation or car pool with those who have their own vehicles.

Please contact us if you have any questions at info@onsiterelief.com or visit our website at http://www.onsiterelief.com/

New Orleans Was Not Always Below Sea Level

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

In working with OnSite Relief Inc. and helping New Orleans rebuild after Katrina many people have asked me why a city would be built on land that is below sea level that is pron to flooding.

The answer is that when this area was settled by the French back in the early1700’s the land was not below sea level. The city has sunk to it’s current state over the past 300 years. Why you ask?

Well…

Every great river delta in the world is shaped by two unforgiving geological phenomena. The first involves flooding. The annual, repeated overflow of the sediment-rich Mississippi River is what created Louisiana’s vast deltaic coast to begin with, depositing water-borne sediments and nutrients flowing down from two-thirds of America over the past 7,000 years.
The second major deltaic feature is “subsidence” or sinking. Those deposits of alluvial soil are extremely fine and unstable. Over time they compact, shrink in volume, and sink. Historically along the Louisiana Coast it was new flooding, new annual deposits of sediments, that counterbalanced the sinking and in fact led to net land building.
But by corseting the river with levees right out to the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, we are left only with one half of the age-old equation: subsidence. The land just keeps sinking and sinking with no mitigation. Every day, even without hurricanes, 50 acres of land in coastal Louisiana turn to water. Every ten months, an area of land equal to Manhattan joins the Gulf of Mexico. It is, hands down, the fastest disappearing land mass on Earth.
When French colonists first settled Louisiana 300 years ago, there were vast tracts of dense hardwood forests between what is today New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. There were extensive fresh-water marshes and endless saltwater wetlands and a formidable network of strong barrier islands. Today, all that land is essentially gone. Because of the dikes and the “law of unintended consequences,” New Orleans is a sunken, walled city essentially jutting out like an exposed chin toward the fast-approaching fist of the Gulf. Had Katrina struck two hundred or one hundred or even fifty years ago, the destruction would not have been the same. In 2005, there simply were no land structures left to slow Katrina’s sledgehammer blow.
For more information on OnSite Relief Inc. and their work please visit http://www.onsiterelief.com

Where To Eat In New Orleans

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

Ahhh the food! I think I gained a few pound last year in New Orleans. There is so much to choose from and all soooo good!

 A place that we became regulars at was Captain Sal’s Seafood. It’s a small place set up almost like a Boston Market type restaurant. There is a small dinning room like at any McDonald’s or you can carry out. The seafood is all displayed for you at the counter under glass cases. They serve everything from fried chicken and po-boy sandwiches to craw fish and crab. Their craw fish are so good and can be bought by the pound at a very good price. Don’t know what a po-boy is? Well the shrimp po-boy is to die for. They pile, on ahoggie bun, a ton of breaded, fried shrimp and top it with lettuce, tomato and mayo. You can also try their oyster, meat loaf, burger and other po-boys but I think the shrimp is by far the best. I just read that the po-boy sandwich made #5 on the top 10 foods that make America great!
Have a sweet tooth then venture into the French Quarter and you can feed that with various flavors of pralines or king cakes found in just about every corner shop or go to Cafe Du Monde and try their famous beignets (french doughnuts) which are covered in a mound of powdered sugar. Each serving is 3 doughnuts which (if I remember) is $1.50. Their coffee is pretty good too! You can read the history on Cafe Du Monde or even buy their beignet mix or coffee at http://www.cafedumonde.com/

We ate our Valentine’s dinner at the prestigious W Hotel and boy was that a treat. If you have the budget then check it out. Some friends took us, as it would not have been our choice. The meal was exquisite, probably the best I’ve ever had but with 1 drink and dinner the bill was over $400 for the 4 of us. Not something I’ll be doing again any time soon. The whole hotel is very trendy with beds in the lobby for you to hang out on and the Whiskey Blue Bar/lounge. Check it out at http://www.starwoodhotels.com/

Another great little place is Cafe Degas located at 3127 Esplanade Ave near City Park. It is a cozy french restaurant with a fabulous but limited menu and fairly reasonable prices. You can view their menu on their website at http://www.cafedegas.com/

If you like Middle Eastern food then you should try Mona’s Cafe with 2 locations. The first at 504 Frenchmen St right outside the French Quarter and the other at 3901 Banks St which is more uptown. We shared a combination platter with hummus, babaganoush, tabouli and more. It was quiet when we went even though it was at night but the food was very good and the prices not bad either.

As you can see the city offers so much variety and such great food. You can’t go wrong.

I will definitely try some other places this time around but plan on returning to Captain Sal’s, Mona’s Cafe and Cafe Du Monde as those were my favorites.

For more information on OnSite Relief Inc. and our work please visit http://www.onsiterelief.com

Mardi Gras 2008

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Outings, Tours and Events by onsite

Even though we are in New Orleans to work we still like to have fun and Mardi Gras is full of that. We work during the day and try to catch some of the evening/night parades. If you’ve never been then you definitely have to go! The parades are perfectly family friendly (just watch you don’t get hit with the beads!) The only place to not bring the kids would be down Bourbon St.
OnSite will be arranging outings to many of the night parades on the Uptown route so that our volunteers will be able to see them and know when and where to go. You might want to bring a backpack to carry all beads home with you from the parades!
Here is the 2008 Mardi Gras Parade Schedule in New Orleans:
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6
Phunny Phorty Phellows - Streetcar Route, 7:00 pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19
Krewe du Vieux - French Quarter, 7:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 20
Orleans / Jefferson
Little Rascals - Metairie, 11:00 a.m St. Tammany
Perseus - Slidell, 1:00 p.m.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25
Orleans / Jefferson
Oshun - Uptown, 6:00 p.m.
Atlas - Metairie, 6:30 p.m.
Cleopatra - West Bank, 6:30 p.m.
Excalibur - Metairie, 7:00 p.m.
Pygmalion - Uptown, 7:00 p.m. St. Tammany
Eve - Mandeville, 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26
Orleans / Jefferson
Pontchartrain - Uptown, 1:00 p.m.
Shangri-La - Uptown, 2:00 p.m.
Caesar - Metairie, 6:00 p.m.
Sparta - Uptown, 6:00 p.m.
Pegasus - Uptown, 6:45 p.m. St. Tammany
Olympia - Covington, 6:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 27
Orleans / Jefferson
Alla - West Bank, Noon
Carrollton - Uptown, Noon
King Arthur - Uptown, 1:15 p.m.
Barkus - French Quarter, 2:00 p.m.
Rhea - Metairie, 3:45 p.m.
Centurions - Metairie, 5:30 p.m. St. Bernard
Nemesis - Chalmette 2:00 p.m. St. Tammany
Dionysus - Slidell, 1:00 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30
Druids - Uptown, 6:00 p.m.
Thor - Metairie, 7:00 p.m.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 31
Babylon - Uptown, 5:45 p.m.
Chaos - Uptown, 6:30 p.m.
Muses - Uptown, 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Orleans / Jefferson
Hermes - Uptown, 6:00 p.m.
Aquila - Metairie, 7:00 p.m.
d’Etat - Uptown, 6:30 p.m.
Jason - Metairie, 7:30 p.m.
Morpheus - Uptown, 7:45 p.m. St. Tammany
Selene - Slidell, 6:30 p.m.
Orpheus - Mandeville, 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2
NOMTOC - Westbank, 10:45 a.m.
Iris - Uptown, 11:00 a.m.
Tucks - Uptown, 12:30 p.m.
Endymion - Uptown, 4:30 p.m.
Isis - Metairie, 6:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Orleans / Jefferson
Okeanos - Uptown, 11:00 a.m.
Thoth - Uptown, 11:30 a.m.
Mid-City - Uptown, 2:00 p.m.
Bacchus - Uptown, 5:15 p.m.
Napoleon - Metairie, 5:30 p.m. St. Tammany
Tchefuncte - Madisonville, 10:00 a.m.

LUNDI GRAS, FEBRUARY 4
Proteus - Uptown, 5:15 p.m.
Orpheus - Uptown, 5:45 p.m.
Zeus - Metairie, 6:30 p.m.

MARDI GRAS, FEBRUARY 5
Orleans / Jefferson
Zulu - Uptown, 8:00 a.m.
Rex - Uptown, 10:00 a.m.
Elks Orleans - Uptown, 11:30 a.m.
Crescent City - Uptown, follows Elks
Argus - Metairie, 10:00 a.m.
Jefferson Trucks - Metairie, follows Argus
Elks Jefferson - Metairie, follows Jefferson
Grela - West Bank, 11:00 a.m.
Choctaw - West Bank, Noon St. Tammany
Lions - Covington, 10:00 a.m.
Covington - Covington, follows Lions
For more information about OnSite Relief Inc. and our work and event schedule please visit http://www.onsiterelief.com

What To Do In New Orleans

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

Just walking around the French Quarter is an outing all on it’s own. There are so many interesting shops, cafes and restaurants and little art museums. You can also pay to have a haunted night tour of the Quarter or a horse and carriage tour during the day. Some websites you can check out regarding these tours are http://www.tourneworleans.com/ http://www.neworleansghosttours.com/ http://www.neworleanstours.net/ http://www.neworleanscarriages.com/
There is also the French Market which is a flee market open 7 days a week just near the waters edge of the Mississippi River. Vendors from all over bring clothing, masks, beads, antiques and souvenirs. See http://www.frenchmarket.org/shopping.htm for more info.

Don’t forget about Cafe Du Monde! Known for their beignets (french doughnuts covered in powdered sugar) and coffee they are located on Decatur near Jackson square. We have eaten many beignets while sitting on the stairs at Jackson Square and watching the street performers. You can learn more about Cafe Du Monde and even purchase their beignet mix or coffee at http://www.cafedumonde.com/main.html

Now Bourbon St. that’s where all the action takes place and is not recommended for kids! All of the x-rated video of Mardi Gras has happened on Bourbon St. Lined with nothing but balconies, bars and “gentleman’s clubs” a lot of “no good” happens there. Drinking in public, on the street is legal in New Orleans so some bars are just an open window where you order your drinks to go. The sign “HUGE ASS BEERS TO GO” is quite popular and frozen daiquiris are found everywhere is gigantic sizes. I’m not much into crazy partying but it was interesting just to see the happenings of Bourbon street. You’ll also find the popular gay district on Bourbon’s east end.

Just outside of the French Quarter is Harrah’s Casino which is a world in itself. Please visit http://www.harrahs.com/ for more info.

There is also River Walk right on the Mississippi River where the cruise ships dock. They have all kinds of shopping and a food court. You can see a complete list of their shops at http://www.riverwalkmarketplace.com/html/
Another fun place is Rock N’ Bowl which is a combination bar and bowling alley. They have live bands there on certain nights and some times even put out free food! They had chicken wings and sandwiches the night I was there. For their calendar and history please visit http://www.rockandbowl.com/
If you don’t mind venturing a ways out of the city you might want to take a tour of a plantation. There are many to choose from including http://www.lauraplantation.com/ and http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/
There are also seasonal events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest but those are a whole other blog unto themselves!
So enjoy New Orleans and don’t be surprised if you end up falling in love with the city like we did! For more information regarding OnSite Relief Inc and our work please visit http://www.onsiterelief.com

Mardi Gras Party a Success

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Outings, Tours and Events by onsite

Saturday July 14th, 2007 was a rainy and miserable day but that didn’t stop us from putting on one heck of a party. Purple, green and yellow (Mardi Gras colours) were everywhere even including the nail polish on a few of our fingers and toes!! Traditional New Orleans cuisine was enjoyed by all; red beans and rice, jambalaya, muffaletta’s, craw fish, King Cake and beignets. Beads, smiles and of course great company was plentiful as the sounds of New Orleans jazz floated through the air. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us out and thank you to those of you who are helping us with your generous donations! OnSite can’t do it with out you. For more information about OnSite please visit www.onsiterelief.com

Fundraising and Awareness Crawfish Boil

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Outings, Tours and Events by onsite

On Saturday July 14, 2007 we will host our very first fundraising event. We not only want to raise funds for our upcoming project but spread awareness of the situation in New Orleans. Our Louisiana Crawfish boil with a Mardi Gras theme is by invitation only. If you are in the southern Ontario (Canada) area and would like to attend please email us at info@onsiterelief.comfor an invitation. The event will be held in Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
For those attending get ready for some spicy creole cuisine, tons of beads, Southern hospitality and the sounds of the Big Easy. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Story is Out

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

Tampa Bays 10 aired our story between 8-9 pm on Saturday May26th in HD. They did such a great job and both the write up and video are great. Thanks again Beau and Adam! For all of you who have already watched our video; Justin’s last name is not Griffin but Bhagat. I have gotten a number of emails about that. haha. That’s okay, I’ll just have to call him Mr. Griffin from now on.

You can view our video here:
http://www.tampabays10.com/video/news/?aid=42181&sid=55629

You can read our story here:
http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=55629

Please visit our website at http://www.onsiterelief.com/gallery.shtml for more photos and video.

Tampa Bays 10 News

Posted on November 27th, 2007 in New Orleans, Other information by onsite

Beau Zimmer and Adam Vance of Tampa Bays 10 News recently visited with the founders of OnSite to learn about their upcoming project in New Orleans, Louisiana. This footage will be part of a Hurricane special which airs Saturday May 26th, 2007 on Brighthouse channel 10. The series will cover hurricane preparedness, recovery, and personal accounts from those affected by passed storms. A link of the special will be posted on our website www.Onsiterelief.com within the next few days. You can also visit www.tampabays10.com for links to their news casts.