Mardi Gras Fundraising and the New Orleans Spring Break Trip

Hey everyone, my name is Tom. I’m filling in for Rob this week to talk about one of the pro bono service trips open to BC Law 1Ls. There are four different spring break trips through BC Law: the Haiti Service Trip, Navajo Nation Service Trip, Gulf Coast Service Recovery Trip (New Orleans), and the Immigration Law Service Trip (various cities across the U.S.). Rob went on the New Orleans trip last year, and that’s the one I’ll be doing this year.

I went to undergrad in New Orleans, so I can’t wait for this trip. Eleven other 1Ls are also going, and we’ll be working Monday-Friday with a few different organizations in the city. Some of us will be working with the Innocence Project, which is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating people who have been wrongly convicted. Others will be working with the Capital Appeals Project, an organization that represents indigent defendants sentenced to death in Louisiana. The rest of us, including myself, will be shadowing an attorney at the City Attorney’s Office of New Orleans. We’ll all be assigned to an attorney in a certain practice area (housing code enforcement, civil rights, contracts, etc.) and spend the week with them. Essentially all twelve of us will be helping with legal research and writing and getting some real-world legal experience.

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Three of our 2015 NOLA trip members preparing for yesterday’s fundraiser

The trip is entirely student-run. The twelve of us got some direction from the 2Ls who went last year (including Rob), but for the most part it’s been all on us to take care of planning and fundraising. We’ve worked together to book a house for the week, reserve round-trip flights from Boston to New Orleans, and to fundraise so that we can pay for it all.

We’ve had a few fundraising events over the course of the year. So far one of our most successful was a bar review that we hosted on the last day of 1L finals last semester (no surprise there). Yesterday (which happened to be Mardi Gras) we had our last event before the trip, a jambalaya sale at school; this is a New Orleans service trip tradition and was a huge success. Father Fred, an Assistant Dean and Chaplain of BC Law (and a BC Law grad himself) joins the New Orleans crew on the trip every year, and his jambalaya recipe is the reason why this event has always been so popular.

Father Fred leading the team in preparing the jambalya

Father Fred leading the team in preparing the jambalaya

And while the fundraising and planning has all been great, the real upside of this trip is obvious: a week in New Orleans. Like I said earlier, I went to college in New Orleans and can’t wait to head back down. We found a house that’s big enough to hold all twelve of us, right between Uptown New Orleans and the French Quarter. We’ll be working Monday-Friday but will still have plenty of time to hit up all of my favorite spots in the city. It’s also worth mentioning that New Orleans, unlike Boston, is not currently paralyzed by subzero temperatures and seven feet of snow, so the week will be a welcome change of scenery as well.

That’s all I have for now. We fly down in less than two weeks, and until then I have a memo to write. Thanks a lot for reading, and thanks Rob for letting me fill in.

Tom Murphy is a 1L at BC Law and a guest blogger for BC Law: Impact.

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