Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas or, like me, the Life Force that Breathes through All Creation—or none of the above—this is the time of year when we look for the coming of light into a darkened world.
In the Lower 9th Ward, light comes from many places. I’ll start with our second annual tree-lighting on St. Claude Avenue . A few days ahead, Constance Fowler saw Rev. Willie Calhoun and Ms. Leona Tate standing by the 12-foot tree, waiting for the City to bring a big ladder, and went home to get her own. When she showed up with it, Leona and Rev. Willie had these big wrinkled foreheads and were looking grim. “Let’s just start decorating,” Constance said. “We don’t need to wait for the City.”
As the ornaments were hung on the tree, Constance could see the children in Leona and Rev. Willie come out. People driving by started honking. One woman circled around and came back with an ornament. A couple younger people started helping. And Rev. Calhoun couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beauty and light they had created together.
“The light came onto their faces and it was joyful,” Constance said. “It just took one more person.”
Light also comes to us from people all over the world who show they care by doing what they can. When I was first volunteering in the Lower 9th Ward, I always thought that unskilled labor, here for a week at a time, was not the most efficient way to rebuild a City. It isn’t, of course, but New Orleans has never been about efficiency. We have always known that if bigger structures fail, it’s up to good-hearted individuals to show up with a candle in the darkness.
That’s why, as the year ends, we are asking our supporters to join the Krewe of House the 9. Krewe members are the people who don’t just show up once. They’re with us month after month and year after year. And to become a member of the Krewe, it only takes $10/month (or $120/year)!!
The Krewe of House the 9 exists to partner with the residents of the Lower 9th Ward
in their determination to continue the legacy of homeownership
left to them by their parents and grandparents.
But it is much more than that. When I used to volunteer, one of the most important things I brought to the displaced homeowners still struggling to rebuild was the sense that they were not abandoned. Out there in the world, there are people who stand with them, people who care whether they are home with their families during the dark days of winter, people who, by their love and generosity, bring light.
The members of the Krewe of House the 9 are those people for the Lower 9th Ward. We invite you to join them.
All of us at the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association wish you a joyful holiday and a new year filled with love, peace and light.
The first $4000 in gifts will receive a 50% match by two generous L9WHA supports.