Help for a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the long-term recovery of New Orleans’ historic Lower Ninth Ward following Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches of 2005. We are actively engaged in the long-term recovery of the hardest-hit, slowest-recovering community in the Gulf Coast region.
Our mission is simple—to rebuild the homes of pre-Katrina residents, and to mitigate blight in our neighborhood. The 2005 population of the Lower Ninth Ward (prior to the levee breaches) was 98.1% African-American, and over 60% lived below the average mean income of the country. Despite this, we enjoyed one of the highest rates of black homeownership in the nation, because our residents were the descendants of some of New Orleans’ first free people of color. Many owned their homes outright, as they had been passed down from generation to generation.
We use volunteer labor under skilled staff supervision to rebuild flood-damaged properties, bringing the cost of construction down to approximately 30% of the open market rate. Since 2007, we have completed 88 full rebuilds and more than 250 housing repairs, such as siding and roof replacements. These efforts have brought more pre-Katrina families back into this community than any other organization.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
New Orleans is one of the world's most fascinating cities – it's home to a truly unique melting pot of culture, food and music. Festivals, parades, museums, restaurants, and concerts abound, and volunteers often venture into the city and surrounding areas on evenings and weekends to explore. Our crew leaders, staff, and clients all help volunteers connect with the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, and the surrounding area in a way deeper than could be experienced as a tourist. Our staff often offer transportation and act as local guides to the area, keeping volunteers updated about which festivals are happening and where the best po boys are at. Past activities include going to the beach in Mississippi, listening to jazz in Louis Armstrong Park, kayaking in Lake Pontchartrain, exploring the World War II museum, running on the levee, dancing on Frenchman St, visiting the Lower Ninth Ward Living Museum, and even going shrimping.
We need your help to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans! We are always looking for individuals to join our volunteer construction crew and work on residential construction projects in the Lower Ninth Ward under skilled supervision. We welcome all willing and able individuals regardless of skill level throughout the year. We provide the necessary project training, tools, and safety equipment. You must have an up-to-date tetanus shot and active health insurance, and should consult with your physician if you have asthma or any known mold or dust allergies. The work we do is physically demanding.
Individuals will join an international team, which works from 8:15 AM - 4:00 PM Tuesday - Saturday on our open construction projects in the Lower Ninth Ward. We expect all volunteers staying in our volunteer house to commit to this schedule full-time. The vast majority of the time, we work on residential building projects for individual pre-Katrina residents of our neighborhood, but we occasionally take on lot clearing, data collection, or collaboration with other nonprofits in the area. Please be sure to let us know if you have any specific rebuild-related skills or previous experience. We will do all we can to make the most of your skills, but as our project schedules are determined by many variables, we can't make guarantees. Our most common volunteer projects are framing, insulating, sheetrocking, tiling, painting, and siding. We cannot tell you ahead of time what you will be doing, but all our projects are guaranteed to contribute in some way to the rebuild efforts of our neighborhood.
Loading up materials and tools at the beginning of work days
Following technical and safety instructions from crew leaders
Cleaning up work site at the end of the day
Tasks may include carpentry; electrical wiring; plumbing; roofing; framing; installing insulation; hanging, taping, mudding or sanding sheetrock; tiling; painting; installing windows and doors; installing bathroom fixtures; installing kitchen cabinets and counters; gardening/landscaping
Individuals with strong construction skills and mastery of the English language may be able to grow into a leadership role (see below)
Individuals and small groups are invited to stay in our volunteer house. Groups larger than 12 will need to arrange their own housing and we can provide some contact information for local options as needed. Volunteers are allowed to stay elsewhere and commute to the house for work, but long-term non-local volunteers are highly encouraged to live in our volunteer house. We ask for a $50/week housing fee for up to 3 months, after which point the weekly fee will be waived completely.
There is an opportunity for leadership in construction fieldwork if your English is sufficient, you can make a commitment longer than 3 months to lowernine.org, and you are willing to accept more responsibility. Crew Leader and Assistant Crew Leader positions are available.
Crew Leader responsibilities include:
Leading volunteers on worksites to complete the planned work for the day
Teaching basic building concepts to unskilled volunteers
Overseeing work quality
Reporting the work completed for the day to the project manager
Communicating project needs and wants with the lowernine.org office, occasionally making estimates
Organizing worksite tools and making sure that they are maintained in good condition
Making sure long term and short term volunteers are taken care of on worksites: making sure everyone is hydrated, has sunscreen supplied, and is wearing safety gear
Performing basic first aid for any low-level workplace injuries such as small scrapes
Attending daily 8am staff meetings and weekly project meetings to act as a part of our leadership and decision-making body
Assistant Crew Leaders may be less experienced than Crew Leaders but will support and lead field volunteer teams to the extent that they are able by assisting the Crew Leader with any of the above tasks.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
Our Headquarters House located in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans holds our offices as well as our volunteer housing. We have three bedrooms with 6- 8 bunked beds per room, two full baths and a kitchen. We typically have 10-15 volunteers with us at a time, though the house can hold as many as 25 volunteers. You should expect to share a room without much personal space, so packing light is recommended. The house is equipped with WIFI and laundry facilities, and bedding to borrow during your stay if needed. Chores are assigned to everyone staying in the house: the house is only as clean as the volunteers who live there keep it, so we expect everyone to pitch in. Smoking is only allowed outside. Consuming and storing alcohol inside the house is not permitted.
We will provide the groceries for three meals a day to all volunteers staying on site with us. Volunteers may choose to make large meals for the whole house, or may cook independently. We can always accommodate vegetarians, but vegans/gluten free/etc should plan to supplement their food.
The Lower Ninth Ward can be accessed from central New Orleans by bus, bike, Uber, Lyft, and car. Personal vehicle use is allowed and encouraged, but not required.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have a volunteer house that accommodates our volunteers with both room & board very affordably.
This host can provide space for campervans.
More than two
25 hours a week