Linda Jackson (1951-2020)
On May 16, 2020 we lost our founder and our guiding light, Linda Jackson.
In the words of neighborhood activist Happy Johnson,
“Linda embodied a steadfast and selfless warrior spirit.”
Linda founded the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association barely 6 months after the levees failed. Fourteen years later, she was still fighting to rebuild her beloved neighborhood. A week before she died, she was at a Board meeting by Zoom, excited about our plans to expand our work in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In the years between, she had done almost everything in our neighborhood—case management for people applying for disaster recovery funds; Parliamentarian of the L9 Stakeholders Coalition; fighting the widening of the Industrial Canal; spearheading a study of Minority Health Disparities; and bringing volunteers to overgrown lots that needed their time and sweat. Perhaps most important, she didn’t stop fighting for a high school in the Lower 9th Ward until the day it opened, more than 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.
As her friend Rev. Willie L. Calhoun, Jr., said “Linda Jackson, no nonsense, let’s go get it done.”
Let’s go get it done
Linda had an unerring instinct for people who didn’t really have the interests of the neighborhood at heart. You could always find her in the back of the room, taking it all in. And when she had heard enough, she would ask the crucial question and slice through all the wordiness and platitudes to what her community needed.
Linda had two daughters and a son and a big extended family. She helped raise her grandchildren, brought them to volunteer at the L9WHA, drove across the state to go to her grandson’s college basketball games, took the kids to the water park and Mardi Gras parades in Slidell. She was always rippin’ and runnin’, as she liked to say. She loved the buffet at the Silver Slipper and playing pool at the Friendly Bar and cooking for her family. And she loved the Lower 9th Ward.
What Linda would want most is for all of us to keep on fighting for the Lower 9th Ward. This is how we will honor her. “Let us do it,” as Rev. Calhoun said, “with the same respect, love and passion she showed for this community.”
Neighborhood leaders with plaque honoring those who died after the levee breaches and those, like Linda, who rebuilt the Lower 9th Ward. Photo by Darryl Malek-Wiley.
Linda Jackson: Good Neighbor Award
The purpose of the L9WHA Linda Jackson Good Neighbor Award is to embrace and reward the qualities of being a good neighbor.
This award recognizes individuals who possess the qualities of dependability, service, and leadership in their homes and communities. This award also recognizes individuals who exercise neighborly qualities of volunteerism, leadership, and care in their communities. These neighbors are nominated by their community and selected by L9WHA staff because they demonstrate these characteristics.
This award is only open to current homeowners or residents in the Lower 9th Ward.
Only (9) awards will be issued per calendar year
Awards will be presented online and issued in-person
Nominees may not be current board members of the Lower 9th Ward Neighborhood Association, Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association, or Holy Cross Neighborhood Association
Only one homeowner per address may be honored as a L9WHA Linda Jackson Good Neighbor per year
The 2021 L9WHA Good Neighbor Award recipients are:
Rev Richard Bell
The L9WHA Linda Jackson Good Neighbor awardees will be presented with a certificate and a proclamation from Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen's Office in person.
Watch the recording here.The