In 2005 Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans. Now, five years later West Virginia University students will travel to the city to discover for themselves how the city is rebounding and rebuilding.

WVU’s Center for Black Culture & Research sponsors a spring trip every year that takes students to sites that are important to African-American culture.

This year the CBC&R Research Study Tour will travel to New Orleans, La., from March 20-24 over spring break to observe the beauty, history and artistic culture that still exists in this magnificent city.

Like previous years, students will be encouraged to blog about their experiences while on the study tour. Marjorie Fuller, the director of the WVU Center for Black Culture & Research, said that blogging is an opportunity for students to express their feelings in writing while the experiences are still fresh in their minds.

The students, joined by faculty and staff, are selected based on their interest in the topic and how the trip matches their research goals. Fuller expanded the number of attendees from 12 to 20 because there were so many outstanding candidates who deserved the experience this year.

Through open dialogue and discussion with students from Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Southern University at New Orleans, the WVU research tour group will have the opportunity to see and hear firsthand how the Black community and New Orleans culture have been affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“Traveling to cultural centers awakens interest in a way other learning experiences do not,” Fuller said. “With face to face interaction students are better able to understand their heritage.”

In previous years the students traveled to the Gullah Islands in South Carolina where they were able to observe a dying culture before it is lost forever; the South to follow the life of Martin Luther King Jr. as he brought the country forward in civil rights; and Harlem, a cultural haven for African Americans in New York City.

“The group will explore and investigate the social, economic and political state of New Orleans, but the lasting impact of the trip will be seen through each individuals’ unique life experiences and perspectives,” Fuller said.

Upon their return, a reception will be held for the students and faculty to share their experiences on the trip and discuss the impact made on their lives. The reception will involve a Q & A session as well as a viewing of the film shot by one of the students on the tour.



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