Marco Ramirez Becerra, a sophomore corporate communication and advertising major from East Windsor, traveled to New Orleans over winter break with the Marquette University Mardi Gras program.
Mardi Gras, which stands for Making A Real Difference in the Gulf Region and Areas Surrounding, is a student-run organization at Marquette created in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf region. Mardi Gras aims to form meaningful relationships within the community of New Orleans, rebuild homes and neighborhoods and raise awareness about the needs of the post-Katrina Gulf region.
For one week during winter break, Becerra and 94 other Marquette students drove 16 hours to New Orleans in vans and worked on 10 different sites once they arrived. Their tasks ranged from lot clearing to dry walling, sanding, painting, building a shed and any other tasks that needed to be completed at the sites.
Additionally, Mardi Gras students had the opportunity to attend a Tulane basketball game and meet with Ed Conroy, Tulane's head coach, who has been supportive of Marquette's efforts in the area.
"Many Marquette alumni have helped Mardi Gras over the years—providing dinners and furthering the mission and ability to operate as an organization," says Daniel Hughes, Marquette University Mardi Gras Vice President. "Marquette's mantra as men and women for others could not be truer for the alumni and students that partake in these trips."