Our first week in NOLA went by in the blink of an eye. Last Monday Joy and I started working in the Quality/Compliance Department at CrescentCare (aka NO/AIDS Task Force), a federally qualified community health center and the largest AIDS services organization in Louisiana. On the first day of work our colleagues in the office warmly welcomed us to New Orleans and to CrescentCare, and everyone we came across at the Agency greeted us with a smile as we walked by. My initial nervousness about being in a new environment was quickly eased by their friendliness, and I knew from their smile that I would quickly fit in with this group of people. I had also been a little worried before about working in Quality/Compliance because I didn’t have any experience with the work I was about to do. While I was almost certain that I would be given menial, unimportant tasks in the beginning, I was glad to find out that they really wanted and needed us there to help them with some of the new projects. Our supervisor has been very helpful in guiding us through the core concepts of clinical quality management and familiarizing us with the clinical work flow by taking us to meetings and setting up clinical observations. After a week of training and observation, we will soon begin working on our first project which aims to improve quality of care by assessing provides’ alignment with standardized quality measures. I’m super excited to get started on our first project, and I’m sure I will enjoy the rest of my time here!
For tourists looking for fun things to do around town, New Orleans will not disappoint. For starters, it is definitely not a city that gets boring as time passes. Even when it’s not the Mardi Gras season, New Orleans is still filled with overwhelming festivity. It seems like there is always some sort of festival going on somewhere in the city. The first weekend we went to the Oyster Festival by the Riverfront, and last weekend was the Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market. New Orleans also has an amazing cultural scene – In the French Quarter, we never failed to find street musicians playing live jazz and people in colorful costumes with Mardi Gras beads hanging around their necks. We also took a fun afternoon excursion after the Creole Tomato Festival to see the historic buildings in the area.
The food here is INCREDIBLE. Po-boys, jambalaya, seafood gumbo, fried oysters, crawfish etouffee, beignets, banana foster, bread pudding with whiskey sauce…The list is literally endless, and you can never go wrong with anything. The only downside of all of this amazing food is that almost every dish is cooked with a lot of fat/sugar, and I have to be careful about what I put into my mouth so that I don’t gain a thousand pounds and fall into a food coma by the end of the 8th week. Additionally, I’ve been packing lunch to work every day in an effort to eat healthy during the week, so I feel less guilty about indulging myself in cheat meals on the weekend. My roommates and I have also been cooking our own dinner on week nights, and it’s been a great bonding experience. Although none of us are particularly good at cooking, we get extremely excited about every meal we make and it’s fun (and funny!) to explore cooking together.