A Week of Remembrance
Pictured Above: Cynthia Guillemet (L9WHA Community Outreach and Client Service Specialist) joins Swan Yoga of Arabi and other L9 residents to do yoga on the Mississippi River Levee in the Lower 9 during the 1st annual L9WHA Katrina Remembrance Week
A Week of Remembrance
This year's Hurricane Katrina Remembrance events were especially significant as 2021 marked both the 16th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association (L9WHA). In recognition of these anniversaries, the L9WHA, in collaboration with community partners, planned a week-long celebration. During the week of August 23, 2021, through August 29, 2021, the goal was to reflect on the power of community and healing.
The week kicked off with the 1st Annual L9WHA: Linda Jackson Good Neighbor Award ceremony. Presented in memory of L9WHA founder and community leader Linda Jackson, this virtual commemoration ceremony marked the 15th anniversary of the founding of the L9WHA and honored nine community members who embody Linda's qualities of services, community and love - being an incredible neighbor. Reflecting on the evening, Cynthia Guillemet (L9WHA Community Outreach and Client Service Specialist) said: "The evening was just great. It was pure joy to hear Linda's family honor her years of service alongside the 9 recipients who are continuing to carry on her legacy."
The next evening, Sherridell Lewis, Counselor at Metropolitan Human Services District (MHSD), presented on Mental Health Disorders, Addictive Disorders, and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities in Louisiana. The presentation was recorded and placed on the L9WHA YouTube channel and has been viewed 245 times, and we hope this knowledge will be of great service to those who need it.
On Wednesday morning, ten residents of the L9 and surrounding communities participated in sunrise yoga with Swan River Yoga on the Mississippi River. The participants enjoyed the program so much; there are plans to offer it once a month here in the Lower 9th Ward.
And finally, Thursday evening, staff members participated in a conversation with two cultural bearers in the community: "Rudy" Davis, the 2022 Zulu King, and Monique Johnson, the 2009 Cross the Canal Stepper Queen. L9 Homecoming: A Conversation with Community Members answered the question "Why do people continue to call the Lower 9th ward home after Hurricane Katrina?" The answer was a resounding sense of family built by community members and residents throughout the generations.
Sadly, the final two events of the week had to be postponed due to Hurricane Ida. On Saturday the L9WHA was to co-host a community resource fair featuring fifty organizations, agencies, and businesses all offering essential services to residents of the L9. The event will be rescheduled in the coming weeks. Then on Sunday, the L9WHA had partnered with 3 community members hosting commemorative marches & second lines, which will also be rescheduled in the coming weeks as well.
Through the above programs, the L9WHA was not only able to visually see the power of community and healing through these events, but also we were able to connect with even more residents and organizations. As such, we will continue to build on the successes of these programs to provide resources and services that are so vitally needed to serve the WHOLE of the L9.
It's NOT too late. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience these incredible commemorative events, check them out at the button below. You'll be able to celebrate alongside the recipients of the Linda Jackson Good Neighbor Award, hear from past and current residents of the L9 in the L9 Homecoming Conversation and learn about the Mental Health Services offered in our community.
Hurricane Ida Response
Hurricane Ida’s untimely arrival left our community again in shambles as L9 residents were forced to remember Hurricane Katrina and survive a new Category 4 hurricane on the same day. So the work for the L9WHA team began even before the storm hit with each member jumping to call, text and swing-by residents' homes to ensure they had all that they needed before the storm even landed.
Within 24 hours of landfall, after mental health check-ins amongst ourselves, staff members sprung into action once again. Text messages were the preferred method to spread information about food pantries, blue tarps for roofs, and filing for FEMA. With so many homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward left without power and the internet, we were able to provide information about vital resources through our vast network of relationships. Since then, we have continued to work diligently in partnership with the Lower 9th Ward Neighborhood Association and other partner organizations to spread the word about needed services and ongoing resources.
Because of our years of service, and reliability, homeowners knew in a crisis to rely upon L9WHA for reputable information. And using newsletters, social media, text messages, calling and physical flyers, we will continue to be the boots on the grounds to put vital information into the hands of L9 residents as we continue to restore our phenomenal community.
To partner with the L9WHA team in continuing to help L9 residents recover from Hurricane Ida, become a recurring donor by donating now.