Our mate, Rick Prose, was responsible for founding lowernine.org – rebuilding homes/community in the Lower Ninth Ward o’ New Orleans. The Crew at NOLA Pyrate Week are proud to have supported & volunteered with this fine organization. Despite the fact they’ve returned more folks to their homes (on less budget) than any other similar organization, the work continues.
Help out if yer able…Rick & the team will surely appreciate it – as will the folks whose homes they’re restoring!
As most of you know, beginning in 2006, I started volunteering in the recovery of the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, a year after Hurricane Katrina had left that neighborhood ravaged almost beyond recognition.
To recap briefly: The breach of the Industrial Canal levee sent a tidal wave through the Lower Nine on the morning of August 29th, 2005 – as a result, 100% of the homes in the community were declared uninhabitable; while there was a high rate of poverty, it was also one of the neighborhoods in the U.S. with the highest rates of African-American home ownership, at 64%; the Lower Ninth Ward was the first neighborhood in New Orleans where African-Americans could actually build their own homes, leading to a nearly two century tradition of the community being the home of the city’s best carpenters, masons, plasterers and tradesmen of all kinds; the official response to recovery in this neighborhood was long in coming and slow when it arrived, and programs designed to help the residents recover were underfunded and discriminatory in their application.
In 2007, I founded lowernine.org to do two things – help the residents rebuild their homes by training and supervising unskilled volunteers to do the work and, as importantly, give skilled and unskilled volunteers a chance to contribute in a meaningful way to the community’s recovery. I am proud to say that we have accomplished both these goals, and are still working!
To date, we have completely rebuilt 75 homes for neighborhood residents and partially or substantially rebuilt another 200 plus, making lowernine.org the single most-effective rebuilding organization in the Lower Ninth Ward (yeah, we’ve helped more residents return than Brad Pitt, way more, on a budget that is a fraction of his organization’s, Make It Right). We have hosted almost 8000 volunteers in the 8 years since the organization started work, from every state in the union and many foreign countries. We have integrated ourselves into the community as stakeholders and have represented the interests of the community on every level from local to federal.
As the 10th anniversary of Katrina looms, I would like to take the opportunity to ask you for your support once again. lowernine.org has asked representatives in all 50 states to help with fundraising, and as the representative from Oklahoma, I’d like to ask you to give what you can by following the instructions at this link – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/50states. You’ll be asked to choose the state you’re from, then choose a state representative, which would be me (RICK PROSE). The reason you should do this is, there is a prize of a trip for two to New Orleans for the representative, but IF I WIN, I AM GOING TO PASS THAT PRIZE ALONG TO THE PERSON WHO DONATES THE MOST MONEY IN MY NAME. So, go big, friends, you just might win the lowernine lotto!
And, even if none of us wins a prize, we will all be doing a great thing to help an organization that has truly made a difference in hundreds of lives so far, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
~Rick Prose (founder and executive director emeritus, lowernine.org)