The Month of February in New Orleans is often synonymous Mardi Gras, where we lose track of how many slices of King cake we've eaten, the number of parades we've attended and how many bags of throws we've collected. But as we all know, this year things are a bit different.
At first glance, everyone thought we were going to just have to cancel...but in true New Orleans fashion....nothing was going to cancel Mardi Gras!
People put their heads together and came up with what has been affectionally labeled: Yardi Gras. Individual homeowners have transformed their homes into floats, and the residents of New Orleans can experience the various "floats" from their vehicles all throughout the city.
L9WHA Board Member, and L9 resident, Tegan Jones turned her house into the Float of Heavenly Bodies (pictured above and below), while others chose themes of Females of Jazz, Schitt's Creek, dinosaurs, and so many more.
The Lower 9th Ward Homeownership Association uses this same spirit of creativity and determination that birthed Yardi Gras. For it was through this creativity that the Whole 9 Initiative was born. The Whole 9 Initiative was created to assist homeowners and preserve homeownership in the Lower 9.
As many of you know, the Lower 9th Ward is a water-rich community, surrounded on 3 sides by water: the Mississippi River, the Industrial Canal, and Bayou Bienvenue. In addition to being surrounded by water, New Orleans has a 6-month long rainy/hurricane season that increases in intensity as the realities of Climate Change manifest. L9 homeowners are seeking environmentally friendly ways to handle the unique challenges of living with water.
Last month, our Executive Director Gaynell and our Community Engagement and Client Services Specialist Cynthia Guillemet completed the necessary training to successfully compete for the Green Infrastructure Challenge Grant through Water Wise. The money awarded would provide residents like Ms. Vanessa (read her story in our End of the Year report) the ability to channel this water in a way that would make it an asset, rather than a liability.
We also look forward to partnering with Urban Conservancy on March 9th to provide L9 homeowners with a DIY class on ways to lessen flooding in their yards. We are also privileged to work with the Center for Sustainable engagement and Development (CSED) to engage more homeowners in the Water Wise Program
This progress is a direct result of you, your generosity and your partnership with us!
To support Gaynell and Cynthia's efforts in the Lower 9, click here