Home Energy Magazine: Neighborhood Inroads
A really wonderful article from Home Energy Magazine on sustainable recovery in the Lower Ninth Ward and the work of CSED!
By Roger Hahn
In many ways, Deloris Wells is a pretty average resident of New Orleans. In other ways, she’s a remarkably accomplished woman. Her family moved from rural southern Mississippi to the outskirts of urban New Orleans in the late 1950s, when Deloris was about 15. They were looking for opportunities to better themselves. When Deloris and her brother graduated from high school, her father insisted that she continue her studies, and she became the first college graduate in the family. For most of her working life, she worked for the Social Security Administration, evaluating and accepting or rejecting disability claims. Over time, she worked her way up the organizational ladder to supervisor and eventually, to assistant area manager.
As we talk, it becomes clear that Deloris Wells loves to nurture close relationships with a wide range of "youngsters," from nieces and nephews to members of her own staff. It comes from her upbringing, Wells says, which is why she signed up to be a block captain in her neighborhood. "I've always felt that I've just been given so much that it's only right to give something back. I don't mind helping out at all, especially if it means I can help my neighbors come back, because I know so many of them still want to, and if I can help, that's what I’m going to do."
I've come to talk with Deloris Wells about a program that installs radiant barriers in the attics of homes belonging to people who are rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. I'm accompanied by Tracy Nelson, executive director of the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), a post-Katrina extension of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, which stepped in right after Katrina, formulating plans for rebuilding and restoration, and engaging partners nationwide to find ways to implement those plans.
Right now, the CSED is focused on three problems: the post-Katrina lack of grocery stores in the immediate area; the restoration of adjacent wetlands; and need to create a more sustainable built environment by influencing decision makers about preserving housing stock, and by working to make the neighborhood carbon neutral. Hence, the CSED's radiant-barrier program. READ FULL ARTICLE >>