NEW ORLEANS -- With each swipe of a windshield, Nicholas Rodriguez is inching closer to the trip of a lifetime.
“It's very important because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Rodriguez said. “No one really gets to go to Washington, D.C.”
Bonnabel High School is the only band from Louisiana selected to march in the national Memorial Day parade.
“It should be a great honor, actually,” Rodriguez said.
But like many band members, Rodriguez doesn't have the money to go. That's why the band is holding fundraising events, like a car wash in Kenner on Saturday.
“I really don't want to have to have any other kids tell me that they just can't afford to go, so we're trying to do as many things as possible to help send them that way,” said band director Andrew Graham.
Only a third of the band's 60 students can fully afford the trip, which costs $655 a head. The band needs to raise at least another $12,000 to send more students.
It has all but given up hope that all 60 band members can go.
“Right now there aren't that many students that are paid off, and it would be a real bummer for only 20 students to go instead of all 60,” Graham said.
Community members with ties to Bonnabel are stepping up to help, even if it just means getting their car washed.
“I think it's a great cause, for them to make that trip and be the only one from LA, the school, the band, to be invited, I thought that was awesome,” said Kenner resident Rose LaFrance.
And those with the band remain optimistic that their determination and the generosity of others will get them to the May 27 parade in Washington, D.C.
“I would be really proud of our band for having raised that money in such a short amount of time,” Rodriguez said.
The deadline to pay for the trip is Monday, but the band director is hoping the deadline will be extended.
If you would like to help, call the Bonnabel High School band department. That number is 504-303-6635.