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HBCU Students Work to Lift Spirits in the Gulf Coast

HBCU Students Work to Lift Spirits in the Gulf Coast


      A number of students from Morgan State University are traveling to New Orleans in a humanitarian effort to help improve the lives of citizens in the area who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Several students will spend their spring break participating in “Katrina on the Ground,” a program for students to assist in clean-up and restoration efforts in storm-damaged areas. In addition, the Morgan State University choir will travel to New Orleans to present “A Musical Tribute to Hope & Heroes” — a concert for Katrina victims at Christ Church Cathedral.

      The students will be primarily involved with assisting hurricane victims in cleaning up damaged property, and helping to salvage items from homes. Their trip is made possible in part by a donation from Southwest Airlines.

      No stranger to the South, the Morgan State University choir has toured the region during students’ spring break for a number of years. This year, the choir will visit Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama prior to performing in New Orleans. Members of the choir will also tour several areas devastated by the hurricane, including a local hospital, Xavier University of Louisiana, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward; home to much of the devastation caused by the hurricane.

      “Ever since Katrina, I have often talked about how the choir might contribute to helping the residents of New Orleans rebuild both physically and spiritually,” says Dr. Eric Conway, director of the choir. “We are only too pleased to give in the only way that we can, through the special gift of music — to encourage and inspire the human spirit.”

      In addition, 250 Howard University students returned last week from New Orleans after participating in an Alternative Spring Break program. While in New Orleans, students worked with Habitat for Humanity and Common Ground Collective, a community-initiated volunteer organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support to Hurricane Katrina victims. Throughout the week, most of the students were charged with “gutting,” or removing debris, from homes designated as safe to enter by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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