Pictured Above: Ms. Vanessa's yard complete and 100% flood-free (right) because of you and the Infiltration Trench installed at her home (left), designed to hold 479 gallons of water.
At the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association (L9WHA) we are dedicated to creating and preserving homeownership in the Lower 9th Ward. New in 2021, The Whole 9 Initiative assesses every part of the homeowners lives and provides information, resources, and other support that reduces barriers to homeownership.
In Spring 2021, we highlighted issues affecting Ms. Bobbie and Ms. Vanessa, two long-time homeowners in the Lower 9th Ward. We are thrilled to announce they are secure in their homes because of your support!
Ms. Vanessa's Flooded Yard
Every time it rained, Ms. Vanessa's yard became impassable. Her yard filled with water and it would take days to recede as mosquitos moved in. Through outreach, we discovered Ms. Vanessa considered leaving her home in the lower 9; because of the constant flooding. As such, the L9WHA staff jumped into action, putting together an incredible partnership of experts to address this concern.
Through L9WHA partnership with Waterwise Gulfshore & Urban Conservancy, Louisiana Green Team, Ms. Vanessa's yard underwent a massive green infrastructure project which included installing a dry well, an infiltration trench and two bio retention facilities. She also had a rain garden installed in her front yard. As a result, Ms. Vanessa's yard no longer floods, and is capable of storing in excess of 861 Gallons of water.
Because of this work, Ms. Vanessa's home is not only safe from water damage, but it is regularly able to replenish the Louisiana water table, and now Ms. Vanessa can focus her attention back on serving her beloved community as the newest District E City Council Candidate.
“Hope all is well. I wanted to personally thank you and the Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association for reaching out to me and recommending my home for a green infrastructure project. I was anxious every time it rained, especially when it rained for several days. My backyard constantly flooded and I was always in fear that my shed would flood. With the recent rain, I am happy to report no flooding took place in my backyard. As we all in New Orleans live below sea level and experience constant flooding, green infrastructure can certainly make a difference in how we live with water…It’s certainly made a difference for me at my home and will make a difference in our community.”
Ms. Vanessa Gueringer
Highlighting Our Partners: Big Easy Environmental Services (pictured left) performed life-saving mold remediation in Ms. Bobbie's house, serving alongside lowernine.org volunteer teams clearing up the debris (pictured right).
In the 16 years following Hurricane Katrina Ms. Bobbie's return to the family home she raised her children in has had a number of ups and downs. Ms. Bobbie made it home after the levee breaches through her own determination and hard work; yet, there was a problem brewing in her home.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, building materials were in high demand. Many contractors purchased drywall that was made of toxic chemicals. These chemicals caused corrosion in the copper pipes, broken appliances, and sickness in many homes. In fact, in Ms. Bobbie's case, she had to replace her pipes and refrigerator. And the toxic chemicals caused respiratory-related illnesses.
The L9WHA's core strength has always been uncovering systemic problems at the ground level and bring solutions to policy-makers. We pride ourselves on bridging the gap between affected communities and the people in power. And as such, we led a campaign to change the policy related to new homes and warranties -- and succeeded. Ms. Bobbie’s contaminated drywall, her pipes, and her appliances were all replaced at no cost to her, and the program repaired the homes of hundreds of other families across the state as well.
In 2020, our Preservation team conducted an assessment of property tax bills in the Lower 9th Ward. At this time we learned that Ms. Bobbie was one of many homeowners who did not have the property tax freeze they were entitled to receiving. We contacted Ms. Bobbie, and under L9WHA guidance, she gathered all the necessary documentation and submitted it to the Orleans Parish Assessor's Office. This freeze will ensure her taxes will never go up again.
In October 2020, Ms. Bobbie's roof was damaged by Hurricane Zeta. So the L9WHA jumped into action, reaching out to our local partners. Lowernine.org repaired Ms. Bobbie's roof and contacted Big Easy Environmental Services to remove the remaining life-endangering black mold. And to prevent future troubles, lowernine.org brought in a variety of volunteer teams to set Ms. Bobbie up for future success. They weather-stripped the windows, performed other weatherization, remodeled the kitchen and provided necessary yard maintenance.
Today we celebrate together the effectiveness of the Whole 9 Initiative and the security homeowners in the L9 possess as a result. Through L9WHA outreach, policy work, and partnerships, the Ms. Bobbie and Ms. Vanessa are able to rest in the knowledge that their homeownership in the L9 is secure.
Volunteer Project on St. Claude Corridor
This month, the L9WHA kicked off a two-day volunteer project in conjunction with Sankofa Community Development Corporation. Twenty volunteers from all over the United States worked to clean and prepare the greeting sign at the base of the St. Claude bridge. This greeting sign is one of the first signs visitors and residents see when entering the Lower 9th Ward. Volunteers participated in a morning orientation by Gaynell Brady, L9WHA Executive Director, and Jean Morris. Then, volunteers removed three large bags of debris and overgrown vegetation from the sign and prepped the area for the fall planting of perennial flowers. The volunteers will complete their work week at a community garden in the Lower 9th Ward.
Save the Date
L9WHA Hurricane Katrina Commemorative Programs
August 23-August 29, 2021
The L9WHA presents a series of programs to commemorate the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 15th anniversary of the founding of L9WHA. The L9WHA will present a series of programs to commemorate the 16th anniversary of Katrina. The L9WHA pays tribute to the 1,800 lives lost in the storm. We will use this time to reflect at one of the memorial services, pay tribute to those who helped to rebuild the community, and celebrate our triumphs over this catastrophic event. Visit L9WHA website for the full list of programs, dates and times. The programs will take place via the L9WHA's Facebook page and in the community.
We Need YOU!
To partner with Ms. Cynthia and Ms. Bobbie in ensuring that all Lower 9th Ward Homeowners are secure in their homeownership, become a sustaining donor TODAY at www.L9WHA.org/L9WHA