What To Expect

What to expect when you volunteer with Common Ground Relief…

When you arrive at Common Ground Relief, 1800 Deslonde Street in the Lower Ninth Ward, you will be met by a coordinator who will check you in and and show you the volunteer housing. New volunteers will be given an orientation, which includes a history of the organization and general health and safety information.

We have a Zero Tolerance policy regarding physical or sexual abuse; drug use or public drunkenness; weapons of any kind; racist, sexist, homophobic or any other discriminatory remarks; dishonesty and theft; illegal activity of any kind, including driving while intoxicated.

Physical and sexual violence will not be tolerated. Remember that “maybe”, “I don’t know” and silence mean NO as it pertains to a sexual act. Consent is saying “yes”. Report any action that you feel uncomfortable about to the Executive Director immediately.

Where will I be staying?

Common Ground Relief provides communal housing for all volunteers with central air conditioning and heat. We provide bedding and towels. We do not offer camping options.

Shared bathrooms with hot showers are available on-site as are a washer and dryer (detergent provided).

What will I eat?

Common Ground Relief provides groceries for all volunteers. Volunteers make their own breakfast and lunch. Everyone helps in the preparation of the evening communal meal. We do provide a daily vegetarian option as needed. Please notify staff of any food allergies that you may have.

So, it’s hot down there? And it gets cold too!

Yes, Southern Louisiana is hot and humid in the summer so plan on waking earlier as our work day starts earlier to beat the heat. Winter weather might dip below freezing at some point in January or early February.

Regardless of the weather, plan to get wet and muddy.

What should I bring?

Common Ground Relief will provide full dress details once planting projects have been scheduled. In general,

  • Long pants (no blue jeans) are required for planting.
  • Dress in layers no matter what the weather.
  • Bring a hat to protect your face from the sun.
  • Bring an inexpensive pair of water shoes (we provide rubber boots)
  • Clean clothes for the evening
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Bring a water bottle
  • Bring some bug spray and sun screen (although we always have some on hand)
  • Personal toiletries

How do I get there?

Greyhound, Mega-Bus, and Amtrak all have terminals in the downtown area. Volunteers may also fly into the Louis Armstrong International Airport. Volunteers are responsible for finding transportation (taxi, ride share, city buses, or private airport shuttle) from the terminals to Common Ground Relief at 1800 Deslonde Street in the Lower Ninth Ward. Please confirm your arrival time by emailing us at volunteer@commongroundrelief.org.

Volunteers might want to bring their own vehicles to get them around town during their off hours. There are two bus lines that serve the Lower Ninth Ward (the 84 and the 88); please see the RTA website for details about schedules, routes, fares, and passes. Bicycles may also be purchased or borrowed while you are volunteering with us. Please make sure that you purchase a helmet and lock and bicycle safely (check out Bike Easy’s Safe Cycling Guide).

What kind of work will we be doing?

We are primarily involved in coastal restoration efforts from Monday through Friday. This entails work at our nursery, tree potting and planting, propagation. Many of our plantings involve being out in the water. We provide canoes and power boats to move plant material and volunteers. You should purchase an inexpensive pair of water shoes. Departure times for some projects may be as early as 7 am.

Katrina Reader” and in the articles “Where Oysters Grew on Trees” and “Louisiana’s Moonshot” provide context and insight into social and environmental issues in New Orleans and surrounding communities.

If you have a specific skill set that you would like to put to use, such as finish carpentry, cooking, administrative, legal, marketing, or fundraising, please contact us at volunteer@commongroundrelief.org.  We can find a special project for you given enough prior notice.

What does my per diem charge cover?

The per diem covers project coordination, housing and 3 meals per day. For per diem costs, contact volunteer@commongroundrelief.org.