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Easy ways to volunteer in New Orleans

SmarterTravel

Even after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans remains a destination all Americans should visit: It has a culture, cuisine, and music all its own. There’s also a fiery, sometimes melancholy, spirit that refuses to succumb to outside forces, be they natural or political. While the city is still undergoing difficulties now, that doesn’t mean you should put off visiting.

In fact, the city’s struggles may even make visiting now more rewarding, because you can opt to be an active participant in New Orlean’s rejuvenation and not just a passive tourist. Even if you only have a day to spare, you can help by volunteering at one of the many rebuilding projects underway in the city.

The New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity offers some of best opportunities for short-term visitors to get involved. Visitors can sign up for a number of house-building projects, including the Musicians’ Village, a planned 70-home community designed to provide housing for New Orleans musicians. The minimum commitment is one full day. Read about available projects and register online.

You can learn about other volunteer projects in the Katrina-affected parts of Louisiana and Mississippi by going to VolunteerLouisiana.gov or the website for the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.

Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to editor@smartertravel.com.

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