District E Councilmember James Gray led a Lower 9th Ward Cleanup effort Dec. 22 to clear multiple blighted lots in the Andry Street neighborhood near the old Lawless High School site. The cleanup was held on the lots adjacent to the Touchdown For Homes construction site, a homebuilding project sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Homebuilders Association and the NFL Retired Players Association.
District E Councilmember James Gray uses a bush hog to clear lot on Choctaw and North Rocheblave streets in the Lower 9th Ward.
Debris removal was spearheaded by Gray, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Orleans Parish inmates assigned to community service, volunteers from the community non-profit, Lowernine.org, and several members of the councilmember’s office and campaign staff.
Rev. Malcolm Collins and Rev. Doug Haywood of New Israel Baptist Church donated their tractors and their time. Rev. Tyrone Smith and church members from Original Morning Star used sickles and shovels to clear the debris mound blocking traffic on North Dorgenois. Linda Jackson of the Lower Ninth Ward Homeowners Association donated rakes and various tools for the effort. Members of the NLF Retired Players Association.
Volunteers tackled overgrown lots with light tractors, heavy duty lawn mowers, and “The Excavator,” a John Deere 690 multi-ton hydraulic tractor that has the capability to remove large trees by the root and clear large swaths of land in a short period of time.
The Excavator was donated by Randy Noel, a past president of the Louisiana and GNO Homebuilders Association who currently works with the NFL to build homes at the New Orleans “Touchdown” site.
The next clean-up scheduled for the lower Ninth Ward is Jan. 2 along St. Claude Avenue sponsored by Sankofa Community Development Corp.
For more information, call Maria Mercedes Tio at 504.658.5161.