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Center for Ethical Living & Social Justice Renewal PDF Print E-mail


The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal’s mission is to contribute to the holistic rebirth of Greater New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region through programs and services that promote social, racial and economic justice. The Center strives to empower, inform and help rebuild a sustainer, equitable and inclusive community. The Center began as a secular outreach of the three UU churches in New Orleans that created the Greater New Orleans Unitarian Universalist (GNOUU) cluster, and the Center received its 501(c)(3) tax exemption status in June, 2009.

The Center’s anchor program is the New Orleans Rebirth Volunteer Program. The Volunteer Program allows volunteers from across the country and beyond to stand in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast for a just and equitable recovery. Please visit our website for full details about how to schedule a service trip and other information about our work.

Working with community partners, the Volunteer Program connects volunteers with opportunities to address the needs of those affected by Katrina in New Orleans. There are several key components of the program designed to help volunteers understand the context in which they are working, to process their experience, and to be effective witnesses to the need for continued assistance and recovery of the Gulf Coast. These are:

  • An initial orientation, which includes the history of Hurricane Katrina, the geography of the city, and the current state of rebuilding in New Orleans. Also included are an overview of work safety issues and rules and procedures for the volunteer program.

  • An opportunity to take a self-guided driving tour of the flood-impacted areas of New Orleans.

  • A dialogue on New Orleans Now: Race, Culture and Rebuilding, which facilitates a discussion of the inequalities in the region’s rebuilding and recovery process.

There are two debriefings facilitated by the volunteer coordinators, one immediately after the first day of work and another the evening before the last day of work. Volunteers participate in a variety of projects with the program’s community partners. These range from rebuilding houses to helping to plant school gardens. Volunteers are asked to evaluate both the dialogue and their overall experience.

Our community partners include:

  • Zion Traveler's Organization

  • Common Ground

  • Lower 9th Ward Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association (NENA)

  • Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)

  • Animal Rescue of New Orleans (ARNO)

  • Rebuilding Together

    View our growing list of partners here >>

Most groups are housed in the 50-bed Volunteer Program, which is housed on the second floor of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans. The volunteers are responsible for many repairs and improvements in the church building. Recently, especially during spring break months when there is an abundance of volunteers, some have stayed at the annex building of Community Church Unitarian Universalist. The New Orleans Rebirth Volunteer Program welcomes all volunteers, and is grateful to the many people still willing to participate in the rebuilding of New Orleans.


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