Holy Cross Project Multifamily Building Continues Fight for Affordable Housing in Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans
From Global Green:
By Michelle Pyne
In the more than eight years since Hurricane Katrina, not one affordable rental housing development has been built in the Lower Ninth Ward. On Wednesday, September 11, 2013, the Louisiana Housing Corporation, formerly the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, yanked approval from the only project proposed for the Lower Ninth Ward. Families, elected officials and advocates are fighting back!
The proposed affordable multifamily project represents the third phase of Global Green’s Holy Cross Project, and includes a 20-unit affordable multifamily building, adjacent to the 5 completed single family homes, and Community Development and Climate Action Center under construction. This development will offer affordable rents, low utility bills due to solar power, healthy indoor air quality, and most importantly a home for former Lower 9th Ward residents who still wish to return to their community after Hurricane Katrina.
Global Green USA, in partnership with Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, Councilmember Stacy Head, community leaders and residents joined together for a press conference at the site of the Holy Cross Project to stand our ground for affordable housing in the Lower 9th Ward.
Linda Stone, Director of the Global Green USA New Orleans office, offered opening remarks detailing Global Green’s commitment to building back the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans as a more sustainable and resilient community. James Perry, Executive Director of Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, told the crowd of community members that it is unacceptable to deny this neighborhood the affordable housing it so desperately needs.
JW Tatum, Board Member for the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, shared his experience of gathering friends in his home under candle light after Hurricane Katrina, to make plans to rebuild his Lower 9th Ward community. READ MORE >>
Work continues on 5227 Chartres. The Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, otherwise known as The Center on Chartres undergoes repairs by the CSED. We replaced termite damaged wood from the cantilevered section of the front porch.
September 28th volunteers from the USGBC's Green Apple Day of Service will be assisting with additional repairs to the porch at The Center.
By Tina Dirmann
This is a story of rebirth, renewal, regrowth. Just a snapshot of what a few determined individuals can do when they are committed to making a difference.
How fitting, as we note the 8th anniversary of Katrina, that we can tell such a tale today. For it was eight years ago when waters ravaged New Orleans. And, in particular, devastated the tight-knit community that made up the Lower Ninth Ward.
In the days before Katrina hit, there stood an empty lot – that kind that proliferates the still devastated community today. But before the storm, this lot in particular meant something to people. You see, one resident used to take the time to toss seeds into this lot. At times, tomato seeds. Sometimes okra. A little of this and some of that. Nothing formal. No one tended to the yard in any particular way. And yet, produce often grew large and proud. And what cropped-up was there for the taking. Anyone in the community was welcome to it.
That tradition was almost lost in the storm’s wake, just another casualty amid so much other loss. We know some residents never returned. Weeds still stand overgrown on vacant lots. Community stores and bars and gathering spots simply fell away.
But in 2009, one woman in this shaken community remembered that garden, and she wanted it back. Because in her neighborhood, fresh produce can be hard to come by. There aren’t thriving farmers markets. No Whole Foods and Rouses offering fresh fare – let alone anything affordable.
And so, 9th Ward resident Jenga Mwendo founded the Backyard Gardener’s Network, a non-profit dedicated to reviving and sustaining the lot they’ve now dubbed “The Guerrilla Garden.” Her group gathered enough funds to buy the lot at 601 Charbonnet Street and not just return it to what it once was – but to take it a step beyond. READ MORE >>
Wonderful video that commemorates EPA's 20 years of working on environmental justice issues, featuring Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice - and friend to the Lower 9 and CSED.
The United States Green Building Council is linking up with Louisiana schools for a new initiative called the Louisiana Green Schools Challenge. The goal of the project is to engage students in environmental studies and to get them to create their own sustainable ways to go green.
Advocates of the project, like Arthur Johnson, say given the New Orleans infrastructure, the Crescent City is the perfect laboratory for students "to help them not only understand wetlands and restoration, and the importance of bayous, but see how that links to the community and how it can make a difference to them." READ MORE >>
Last week Baptist volunteers helped remove rotten wood from the Sustainable Engagement and Development Center (aka 5227 Chartres Street House). As we peeled back layers of drywall and rotten tongue and groove, we found beautiful barge board rafters that make up the old bones of the house. After several consultations with Andrew Spaulding (Nola Green Building Architect Extraordinaire), we determined the next step is to remove termite damaged framing in the cantalevered section of the porch (bottom right pic), and replace with new treated lumber. This will reinforce the roof rafters and ceiling joists that tie into the top plate at the front of the house. Stay tuned for updates & project progress!