Three years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Ms. Allenspach, who was studying journalism at Boston University, visited New Orleans and was entranced by the city’s rich history and culture.
“When I visited, you don’t necessarily see where the damage is still really visible,” she says. “When you’re visiting, you’re not necessarily learning.”
Now, she says, she can’t learn enough. “You can’t see a watermark on a tree on a vacant lot and not be touched by it. Everything touches you.”
Ninety percent of the 1,300-acre park where she now works was under eight feet of water. Her boss said Katrina left such damage, it looked like a bomb had gone off. Nothing green was left.
Friends of City Park works to revitalize and sustain New Orleans’s biggest park. Her role is to drum up membership. “There’s still a lot to be done,” she says.
The 23-year-old hasn’t told her parents yet, but she plans to be a New Orleanian through and through. “I can’t see myself staying less than five to six years,” Ms. Allenspach says.