Several students from Cal State Northridge worked on houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina during their Spring Break vacation. Although the hurricane ripped through the Gulf Coast nearly two years ago, many cities are still struggling to clean up the devastation that remains. When the group of nearly 25 CSUN students arrived in Chalmette, a small city near New Orleans, they were greeted with a harsh reality. Large portions of the city and surrounding areas looked abandoned, and rotting houses were everywhere. But in the midst of all the mangled debris that thousands of people used to call home, the students also found a glimmer of hope in the eyes of residents living in the government-funded trailers that filled the city. The group’s organizers from CSUN Hillel tracked down an organization called the National Relief Network, which provided the students with the addresses of some people who needed help cleaning or rebuilding their homes. The NRN also gave the group tools to perform reconstruction work, which included demolishing molding ceilings, removing damaged toilets and installing new dry wall. During the five-day trip, the students worked on four houses, and spent their last night in Louisiana partying on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. After the group cleaned out a garage that had not been opened since Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005, the homeowners were so grateful for the help they cooked a huge bag of crawfish for the students. But the work that still needs to be done in the Gulf Coast is far from over. According to city and federal records, approximately 10,000 houses need to be demolished in Louisiana, and government agencies are still refusing to provide some residents with the money they need to rebuild their homes. Until the debates over funding are settled, people suffering from the hurricane’s damage have no choice but to fend for themselves. This is why Clarence Luquet, another homeowner helped during the students’ Spring Break trip, said volunteers are an important asset to cleaning up the city faster. “Now I feel like I’m ready to start the rebuilding process thanks to (the CSUN students and the NRN),” Luquet said. “A bunch of good people did all this work in one day, where it would’ve taken me months to do this. I encourage anyone who’s willing, to volunteer. We could all use the help here.”