YMCA Impact Tours


Rebirth of New Orleans Impact Tour: See the City, Tour a Heritage YMCA, Enjoy Dinner at Cafe Reconcile (for early arrivals)

Monday, April 23 
3:15 - 8:30 pm
(Bus boards at 3:15 and returns to Hilton by 8:30 pm) 
Fee: $75 (Includes city tour guide, Y tour, transportation, dinner)
Advance sign-up and payment required

Experience parts of New Orleans that visitors rarely see on their first trip to the city and learn much of its storied, 300-year history.  The city tour begins with the sights and sounds of the oldest and most recognizable part of New Orleans - the famous Vieux Carre or French Quarter. Then you will travel to the shores of Lake Ponchartrain. The nearby area was the Dryades YMCA's Pontchartrain Park facility prior to Hurricane Katrina. Learn the history of the levee system so critical in a city built below sea level. Stop at the site of the most well known Katrina levee breach at the 17th Street Canal, that flooded City Park and neighborhoods. In City Park, one of the ten largest urban parks in the US, enjoy the beautiful 300-year old oak trees that survived. Follow Bayou St. John, once a shipping channel in the early 1700s, and the path of the St. Charles streetcar past the antebellum homes of the mid 1800s, where former Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras dined and danced. No tour would be complete without an explanation of New Orleans' unique burial systems which are above ground.  Though the city tour ends at this point, the tour of the Dryades YMCA begins. A Heritage YMCA founded during the era of segregation as a place for African Americans, the Dryades Y played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement, recovered from a devastating fire, and took a leadership role in the city's rebirth after Hurricane Katrina.


Next stop is dinner at Cafe Reconcile, a non-profit restaurant that operates a Life Skills and Workforce Development Program for at-risk youth in the local community. You will be dining in the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Center, enjoying a buffet menu that includes some of New Orleans' signature entrees.

Belle Chasse YMCA Community Garden Philanthropy Live! Project and YMCA Impact Tour

Tuesday, April 24
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
(includes snacks)

Hurricane Katrina devastated much of southeast Louisiana and surrounding areas. It made landfall as a Category 5 storm in Plaquemines Parish, destroying homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. In the wake of this destruction and amid the rebuilding efforts, the YMCA of Greater New Orleans recognized the need for a place for the community to come together and heal. With tremendous community support including a $5M grant from the Conoco Phillips Alliance Refinery, the Y was able to open a new facility in Belle Chasse. The state of the art fitness, family and wellness community center opened in 2011 and has been expanding programs to meet community needs ever since. This tour is incorporated into Philanthropy Live! Project 3 where participants will work to help beautify the community garden started intially by Phillips 66 and the local Belle Chasse Garden Club and plant crops for next season. Sign-up on the Philanthropy Live! section of the registration form. There is no additional cost but your contribution as a volunteer to working on the garden is expected.


YMCA Impact Tour & Lunch at Cafe Reconcile

Tuesday, April 24
11:30 am - 2:00 pm

$50 (includes transportation, Dryades YMCA tour and lunch)

Though now open to all, Heritage YMCA denotes a YMCA initially created for African Americans prior to desegregation. Heritage YMCAs, like the Dryades Y served as gathering places for leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. Among those leaders is former UN Ambassador Andrew Young who grew up at the Dryades YMCA and went on to become the first African American US Congressman from the Deep South since Reconstruction.

Appreciative of its rich history, focused on the future, knowledgeable of its social responsibility and committed  to the Y mission, the Dryades YMCA remains steadfast in its cause to strengthen the lives of the people and the communities it has served since 1905. From its recovery from a tragic fire in 2000 to its role in post-Katrina recovery when its charter school was the first to open its doors after the storm, the Dryades Y continues to impact the community in traditional and unique ways. 

Following the Y tour, enjoy a buffet lunch at Cafe Reconcile located on Oretha Castle Haley (originally Dryades Street). At Cafe Reconcile you will enjoy a Po-Boy along with other menu options. Po-Boys are a New Orleans tradition first created when streetcar workers went on strike and local bakers provided sandwiches to those "poor boys." Ask for a sandwich "dressed" and expect lettuce, tomators, pickles and mayo, but at this event you can "dress" it yourself.