New Orleans Experience Connects to City

August 26, 2011 5:45 AM

Fran Simon

At an uptown chocolatier, 18 incoming students tried their hand at pouring chocolate into a mold in the shape of the Tulane logo. Other new students toured Louisiana swamps, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 or a museum celebrating the culture of Mardi Gras Indians. In all, nearly 200 new students got a jump-start on learning about New Orleans through an optional program during the week before the fall semester begins.

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In the “Newcomb and the City” track of NOLA Experience, incoming students get ready to try their hand at pouring chocolate into a mold in the shape of the Tulane logo. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)

“Getting onto campus a week earlier than other students, moving in, settling in and making friends has been beneficial to my feeling comfortable before starting my freshman year,” said Emily Parker, a participant in the NOLA Experience.

The program has helped Parker get her bearings in a city larger than her hometown of Montpelier, Vt., she said. Wearing a cap sporting a Tulane logo, Parker started her day with community service by working in the yard of a women’s shelter. Lunch was at the St. James Cheese Co. on Magazine Street, an enterprise founded by Newcomb alumna Danielle Moreton Sutton and her husband, Tulane alumnus Richard Sutton.

When asked what was the highlight of the program for her, Parker said it was “seeing what empowered women are doing here to make a difference, and building connections. New Orleans is connected with service to people.”

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New students Maren Heller, left, and Allie Waterhouse take their turn as chocolatiers at Blue Frog Chocolates.

The themes of NOLA Experience are explore, connect, appreciate and share, said Rachel Spencer, assistant director of orientation.

Ann Streiffer, co-owner of Blue Frog Chocolates on Magazine Street, told the group of students that Hurricane Katrina in a way was a marketing opportunity for her shop.

“After Hurricane Katrina, we lost all power, but we had the best-smelling garbage in town. As people came home, we put in these chairs, and people sat here and visited. Chocolate makes you feel good, and this is a happy place,” Streiffer said.

Incoming students will move into residence halls on Saturday (Aug. 27), and undergraduates begin fall classes on Monday (Aug. 29).


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000