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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Location. Location. Location.

After a visit to the Covering Katrina exhibit at the Newseum in DC, I was reminded of one of the major reasons we chose to have our wedding in New Orleans. Seeing pictures of the thousands stranded at the Convention Center only blocks from where we will have our wedding reception, reinforced the importance of giving back to the city. What better way to help New Orleans than to hold the biggest party we can there? Besides, is there a better place to have a party?

Katrina left a profound impact on New Orleans, which was still evident when my fiancé and I visited there this past summer, during the peak of the BP oil spill crisis. The city is definitely healing (thanks to amazing volunteers and the New Orleans Saints), but there is still a great deal of need. While the French Quarter and other more touristy areas have recovered, huge portions of the city are still trying to make a comeback.

A wedding in Jackson Square New Orleans, photo by Nicole Nichols
It helps to remember that every dollar that spent in New Orleans helps the recovery effort. Weddings, and the hospitality industry in general, really fuel the city's economy. In addition to the thousands of locals who tie the knot in the city each year, out-of-town couples also select NOLA as a popular destination wedding and honeymoon locale, so booking your wedding in New Orleans can be competitive. Yet there are a ton of options if you start your search early. New Orleans Wedding Magazine online and Weddings in New are great resources for finding vendors and planning your New Orleans wedding.

As native Louisianians, New Orleans was a logical choice for us for our wedding. It allowed us to help the local economy and also be near family and friends. A New Orleans wedding might not be an option for everyone, but looking for a special place that could use your dollars is a great way to start.

As a special spotlight, here are just a few charities in NOLA that are making a difference by rebuilding in New Orleans post-Katrina:

Make it Right
You might recognize Mr. Brad Pitt, the founder of Make it Right, which works in the 9th ward (my dad’s neighborhood growing up) in the area where the levee breached to build sustainable homes for low-income families.

Friends of New Orleans
This group aims to “inform people of those key issues that are shaping the national debate and decision making of the rebuilding effort, link individuals who want to help with the communities in the devastated areas and motivate people to take part in the rebuilding effort.”

Rebuilding Together New Orleans
Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a program of the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans that focuses on helping residents in Orleans Parish by using a combination of volunteer and professional labor.

Find out more about how you can be a voluntourist in New Orleans. During the course of the year, I'm hoping to spotlight even more great organizations in NOLA and elsewhere. Please let me know about ones near you!

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving to all!


  1. I love Make it Right! They build some beautiful energy efficient houses and are helping to turn the 9th ward into a livable community. They also work with each individual family to figure out mortgage rates so they aren't paying more than a certain percentage of their income toward household expenses. Great post!

  2. Great post! A New Orleans wedding is going to be amazing!

  3. Thanks for the great feedback ladies! I would love to feature more great charities from NOLA and elsewhere. Let me know if you have any suggestions :)