Saturday, November 3, 2007

Why Lower Ninth Ward Village?

Angie H. is one of the valued members of our LEEP team. This past Friday night, she asked us to join a conference call so she could speak to the power of this project. Here is what we learned on the call:

Angie was recently asked by Ward (the building owner), "If you could go back to time prior to the first weekend of Leadership, before this project started, would you?" Angie said she would not in spite of challenges, that she loves what she is doing and will continue.

Ward said that if the people of New Orleans could go back to a time prior to Katrina, they would…for the lives they had. They do not wish for the negatives back, but for their families, friends, and the lives they shared.

Angie shared that Ward still lives in a FEMA trailer next to his still ruined home. He saw something else for New Orleans and decided to use the funds he had available to purchase the Village building because he had seen the structure and declared he would do something bigger for the people of the Lower Ninth Ward. Within weeks of the building purchase, LEEP had entered his vision as an answer to his prayers. He had watched for two years as people slowly come back to still see devastation in the Lower Ninth Ward.

The other day about ten kids had come by the Village and asked what it would be. Ward showed them and shared his vision of what the interior would be. They were excited to know there would be a basketball court, a kitchen, and other rooms. The kids want a place where they can have fun and laugh again, a place where their parents can come and have fun, too. Every day they see their destroyed homes and neighborhood, but they still see a future and have hope for life in New Orleans. Ward would like LEEP to stay part of the Village. There is passion there for all.

Tyrone S, another LEEP member, who resides in New Orleans shared that the elders can assist the young in creating hope for new days. The Village is for families to build their lives again, a place for parents to gather with their children. The Village is the place that will create opportunities for young and old and touch lives beyond the building.

Angie asked those on the phone call to think about their work on the Village as a mission not only "on purpose", but "on passion"...a passion to help continue the work that is so desperately needed in the Lower Ninth Ward.

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