During the week dinner is cooked primarily by AmeriCorps volunteers. Since volunteers stay at Camp Hope seven days a week, local residents pitch in to cook for Habitat volunteers, give the AmeriCorp group a day off, and provide authentic Louisiana cuisine for the visitors.

One of these local residents is John Wilkes Booth. Yes, this is his real name. He has become a legendary fixture in the Camp Hope volunteer community for his willingness to share tales of Lousiana life both before, during, and after Katrina. John was here when the original group of teachers volunteered in July 2006. He was here in April 2008, and John was proudly preparing his own chicken gumbo and red beans and rice last night.

John comes to the camp every weekend, cooks, and shares his stories. Mike Tyrrell once asked John whether he ever gets tired of telling the same stories over and over. His response: "If that's all can give these volunteers, than I will happily tell these stories over and over."

The the delight of many the local food was wonderful. For many of our students, this food is not something they would usually choose to eat. This is probably a surprise to many of their parents, but there hardly seemed to be anyone who did not try this food- red beans and rice, 'New-Orleans style' spinach (which might have been okra, not spinach), black eyed peas, chicken gumbo, and banana bread pudding with chocolate sauce.

Julie Hulten sample the fare
MTS Students at Dinner

LH Students at Dinner
John Wilkes Booth