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Hey y’all! I’m Chris Klasson, and I am a rising junior majoring in history and following the pre-health track. Born and raised in Rome, Georgia – a city you’ve almost surely not heard of – and I wanted to come to New Orleans to learn about and experience this vibrant city. This summer I will be working at the Red Cross as a part of the Home Fire Campaign, which focuses on fire safety education and the installation of fire alarms in neighborhoods and homes that are considered to be high-risk for fire deaths.

Our first weekend after arriving on Friday was great. It’s impossible to not be shocked with how nice and welcoming everyone is here as almost every introduction involves people excitedly sharing their things about the city. Beyond that, a visit to a Katrina museum and bus tour of the city broadened my understanding of the troubles the people experienced here. Seeing images and videos of the destruction, and then seeing vacant lots where houses and schools used to be was unsettling – a reminder of how the city still hasn’t fully recovered. However, everyone has such confidence in their decisions to come back and rebuild the city. For most of them, it doesn’t even seem to have been in doubt they would return, even after losing so much. Because of this, I can’t help but feel that I’m in a special place, and I can’t wait to learn everything I can from it.