If you’re interested in getting even more out of your service trip to a Camp Restore, we recommend doing some pre-trip reading and viewing! Taking it a step further, many volunteers have kept daily journals of their experiences, some privately, some as a group.
Much of our current context is defined by the world events of the 20th Century; this eye-opening book explores the conditions in the South following the American Civil War and the dramatic influences Jim Crow, migration and the World Wars had on the lives of African-Americans and the country as a whole. Amazing true stories.
Why have so many American cities seen such dramatic decline over the past 50 years? Gordon uses huge volumes of mapping data to illustrate how things played out in St. Louis, highlighting trends and policy that can also be seen in Detroit, New Orleans, and many other cities. An incredibly dense, academic work… if numbers or geography are your thing, this is your book.
Detroit is a huge city with an amazing assortment of historical, musical, and culinary culture, written and printed by Detroiters themselves. You won’t find a more comprehensive, up-to-date guide to Detroit.
Protecting New Orleans isn’t simply putting up levees and floodwalls. The most important protection isn’t man-made, but natural features in our wetlands. Due to the channelization of the Mississippi River and thousands of miles of canals dug for oil production pipelines, our wetlands have been heavily damaged over the past 100 years. We now must work to restore them as well as divert freshwater from the river to begin building land once again.
The largest natural disaster in American History before Hurricane Katrina, the Flood of 1927 had an immense impact on our country that is still being felt today. It also digs into New Orleans’ strategic importance tied to the Mississippi River and how our management of the river has a significant effect on NOLA’s long-term protection and viability.
An accurate depiction of the levee and floodwall breaches that occurred when Hurricane Katrina hit. Especially note the role the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MR-GO) played in catastrophically flooding the Lower Ninth Ward.
With an Academy-Award winning soundtrack, 8 Mile captures some of the grittier aspects of life for young aspiring rappers from a working-class background, while telling an inspiring story. (Rated R, view discretion advised)
Clint Eastwood is a recently-widowed retired auto worker who forms a friendship with a Hmong immigrant family next door, in a story originally based in Minneapolis, Minn. The film’s successful adaptation and re-setting in Detroit illustrates the similarities in the stories of many American cities.
This HBO series does an exceptional job of including thousands of little details of real life in post-Katrina New Orleans amidst the larger drama of its main characters. It also may be the most “realistic” portrayal of New Orleans out there, with actual NOLA musicians in nearly every episode. Viewer discretion advised (it’s HBO), but there are many educational episodes and scenes that are suitable for wider audiences (do your own screening).
If Tremé gets the top score for detail, Beasts takes the award for capturing the spirit and resiliency of New Orleans and bayou country, helped greatly by its casting of locals in all the leading roles. It delivers an incredibly emotional and otherworldly experience that metaphorically explores some of the big-picture themes at play behind the scenes. Read our review here.
A wide-angle look at New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina.
This documentary was filmed on the ground before, during and after Katrina from the unique perspective of an aspiring rapper and Ninth Ward resident. It’s an incredibly personal look at one family’s journey through the chaos.
Spike Lee’s first documentary about post-Katrina New Orleans, and perhaps the most comprehensive out there.
Journaling before and throughout your trip can provide highly beneficial insight and reflection for your group. There are lots of great strategies and options out there. If you are looking for options, Can-Do Missions is a great partner of ours that coordinates mission trips for youth. By working through Can-Do, you’ll receive a t-shirt, journal for each participant, training materials, and have the option of letting them coordinate your insured transportation while you’re here.