When Lynn Honoré, affectionately known as Miss Lynn, took the job as cook of the Delta Tau Delta house, she never imagined that the Tulane University fraternity men instead would be taking care of her home. Combine some hurricane damage, fraternal brotherhood and the will to do good--and you end up with a recipe for a coup de main, a French Louisiana term to describe when a community gathers to assist one of its own.
The clean-up crew of Tulane fraternity members from Delta Tau Delta (top photo) works on landscaping and other projects for Gentilly resident Lynn Honoré
"Delta Tau Delta played an important role in helping Miss Lynn move back into her home," said Brian Krevor, fraternity philanthropy chair. "We had multiple work days to do a majority of the work that the contractors would not."
Just down Broadway, among the row of fraternities, the Tulane chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon initiated a community service project for "neutral ground" restoration. They are refurbishing several neglected street medians in the uptown area of New Orleans. In early June about 20 Sig Ep men started repairing the intersection of State and Willow streets. The fraternity is adopting multiple areas to maintain monthly--with plans to add areas near Broadway in July.
A third fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, has been gutting houses for people without insurance in the Lower 9th Ward, according to Jacob Bolin, director of fraternity and sorority programs.
Bolin says the 25 Greek-letter organizations of Tulane (15 fraternities, 10 sororities) each have a national philanthropy and a local or national community service commitment. He expects, for years to come, the fraternities and sororities will focus on community service to help with New Orleans' recovery.
It is really oustanding that the local chapters have been able to help out.
Last fall there was a lot of buzz about Sig Ep setting up an "Alternative Spring Break" project to bring a wave of help to the city. After some very high-sounding emails it seems that, like so many great ideas, it had no legs. Too bad for New Orleans and too bad for the men who would have been inspired by such an effort.
Maybe next year; New Orleans' reconstruction problems are not going away any time soon.