Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I sign up?
What if I don't have any construction skills?
Where will I work and how will I get there?
Does SBP provide lodging and meals?
Does SBP provide water at the job site?
What will the weather be like?
If I come with a group, will we all work together?
Does. St. Bernard Project charge a fee to volunteer?
Can you recommend any books or movies about New Orleans?
Can you suggest any good restaurants?
What do you suggest I do in my spare time?
What should I pack?
What makes a great volunteer?

How do I sign up?

Please contact the Volunteer Department at: volunteer@stbernardproject.org or if you do not have e-mail via phone at (504) 277-6831. When signing up, please include the dates you are interested in volunteering and the number of people in your group. Read more about what to expect as a volunteer at SBP here.

What if I don't have any construction skills?

Don't worry, we will train you! We've worked with lots of unskilled and skilled volunteers. A staff person manages each job site to ensure that volunteers work safely, have appropriate tools and follow St. Bernard Project (SBP) construction protocol. If you are not interested in construction work, there is a limited amount of administrative work. Please contact the Volunteer Department for more information about these types of opportunities.

Where will I work and how will I get there?

On your first day, you will report to the office for orientation. At that time we will assign you to a rebuilding project where you will most likely work at for the duration of your stay. We will give you directions to the job site but you'll have to provide your own transportation. Click here for transportation information

Does SBP provide lodging and meals?

Unfortunately SBP does not provide housing. Many of our volunteers stay at Camp Hope, a volunteer camp run by Habitat for Humanity that offers "three hots and a cot" or in hotels in the French Quarter. Sometimes, the homeowners cook lunch for volunteers, but please be prepared to provide lunch for yourself. Click here for a list of recommended restaurants.

Does SBP provide water at the job site?

Unfortunately, SBP does not have the funding to provide water for all our volunteers. So, please bring water, drinks or whatever you need to stay hydrated, especially during the summer.

What will the weather be like?

From March to November it’s usually hot and humid but there is never a guarantee. Please check weather.com for the latest forecast.

If I come with a group, will we all work together?

It depends on the size of the group. The maximum number of volunteers we can accommodate at a rebuilding project is 15. Sometimes we can only accommodate 4 per house.

Does St. Bernard Project charge a fee to volunteer?

No! If you sign up with us, we just need you to register and be ready to work hard!

Can you recommend any books or movies about New Orleans?
Books
  • Brinkley, Douglass. The Great Deluge.
  • Horne, Jed. Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City.
  • Reed, Julia. Queen of the Turtle Derby.
  • Reed, Julia. The House on First Street.
  • Rose, Chris. 1 Dead in Attic.
  • Southern, Billy. Down in New Orleans.
  • Toole, John Kennedy. Confederacy of Dunces.
  • Wells, Ken. The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous.
Movies
  • When the Levees Broke. Spike Lee.
  • Jazz. Ken Burns.
  • Trouble the Water. Carl Deal, Tia Lessin.
  •  

Can you suggest any good restaurants?

The area has an exciting and unlimited list of wonderful places to dine; various staff members and volunteers have raved about the following restaurants:

Near St. Bernard Parish

Captain Sal’s Chicken and Seafood - (504) 278-2050
A fast favorite, Captain Sal’s offers traditional Cajun food (some of the best and biggest po’ boys around) , New Orleans seafood , and Chinese cuisine.

Today’s Ketch
Seafood straight off the boat and into the pot! They have fresh seafood and homemade sides, all made to order.

Tony’s – (504) 271-5211
A St. Bernard classic, Tony’s has all the southern favorites you can imagine!

Bonsai Sushi Express
Da only sushi restaurant in da’ parish, Bonsai offers good sushi fast, and the staff is always exceptionally friendly.

Penny’s Cafe – (504) 272-0262
Classic diner food mixed with some Cajun flair.

WOW! Wingery
Classic wing restaurant; lots of good times to go around!

Rocky and Carlo’s – (504) 279-8323
A parish landmark with cafeteria style dining and something for everyone.

New Orleans

French Quarter
Coop’s Place
Bayona
Louisiana Bistro
Port of Call
Antoine’s
Café Du Monde

Uptown
Creole Creamery
Camellia Grill
Dick and Jenny’s
Mat and Naddie’s
Jacques-Imo’s
Juan’s Flying Burrito
Mona’s Cafe-(504) 949-4115

Mid-City
Angelo Brocato’s
Juan’s Flying Burrito
Mona’s Cafe-(504) 949-4115

Marigny
New Orleans Cake Café and Bakery
Café Bamboo

Central Business District
Mother’s

Bayou St. John
Daniel’s On The Bayou - Bayou St John - (504) 940-5939

What do you suggest I do in my spare time?

Visit these local New Orleans hang outs to really experience the city.

Websites

Check out these websites for current info on the city!

For the best listing of local events and happenings, visit Gambit @: http://bestofneworleans.com/
For a complete listing of daily live music shows:http://www.offbeat.com/
For everything New Orleans:http://www.nola.com/

 

What should I pack?
Forms
Clothes

Please check the weather before you pack!

  • Volunteer clothes (things you don’t mind getting dirty or getting paint on)
  • A long sleeve shirt and long pants on your first day to change into in case you’re doing insulation (trust us, you’ll want to be covered up)
  • Remember there is always a chance for rain in New Orleans!
  • Sunglasses, hat or bandana in case you are working outside or if you don’t want paint in your hair
  • Sturdy tennis shoes and/or work boots
Toiletries
  • Depending on lodging: towel, pillow, sleeping bag, cot or air mattress, shower shoes, flashlight
  • Medicines/Vitamins/Antacid Tablets
For the work day
  • Open mind and flexible attitude
  • Packed lunch and/or snacks (or visit one of the many newly reopened restaurants)
  • Plenty of drinking water
  • Camera and batteries
  • Free time entertainment (journal, cards, books…see the recommended reading list)
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Tools! We have tools for volunteers, but bringing your own lets others use the ones we have. Please mark your tools to prevent mix-ups (Ours are marked with neon green paint).

What makes a great volunteer?
Be flexible!

Where will I be working? What will I be doing? What time should I arrive?

These are all important questions, but please be patient and understanding when waiting for responses. We are a small team and it may take us a few days to respond to calls or e-mails. Situations change on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, so come with an open mind and a flexible attitude. There is plenty to do, but sometimes it takes us a while to determine where we will send you to do it. Some tasks are more fun than others, but every day of work puts a family that much closer to moving in. Remember that although we are not a construction company, we are working on construction projects and sometimes unforeseen issues come up at a house that we’re working on. We limit the amount of volunteers (and plan for that number) at each house so please do not move to other houses without letting us know.

Work Carefully

You’re working on someone’s house, so please be as careful as possible when performing a task. Follow the guidelines that the site supervisor gives you. We can fix most mistakes but this will mean a delay in the project which translates into a family waiting even longer to be able to move into their home.

Safety

Please be careful on the job site. Power tools are awesome but can do serious damage to fingers and limbs. If you have asthma, bring your inhaler. If you have chronic joint pain, don’t volunteer for work that will aggravate it. Stay hydrated. Be careful climbing ladders and benches, and lifting sheetrock – just use common sense!

Sensitivity

Please be sensitive when communicating with families. Don’t make ANY promises. Don’t tell them you’re going to finish their house. Don’t tell them you’ll be back tomorrow if you’re not sure you can keep that promise. Be a good listener – sometimes our clients just want to talk; however, even if you think you know how they feel, don’t tell them that. Some people take offense to that comment. Again, use common sense.

We ask that volunteers provide their own lunches. While our families occasionally provide lunch, not all families are financially able to feed all individuals and groups. Come prepared and please do not ask homeowners for food. On the other hand, if homeowners do prepare food, please accept graciously, this is their way of thanking you for all your hard work!

Respect the house you’re working on. This is someone’s home and they come in frequently to check on progress. Please do not draw or write inappropriate things on the drywall. And please, please do not use pen to write on the sheetrock-it will show up later. A note to smokers: please do not smoke in the houses and clean up cigarette butts

One last thing

While we encourage our volunteers to explore and enjoy New Orleans, if you commit to volunteering with us, please don’t enjoy the city so much that you can’t work the next morning!