The Lower 9th Ward Village is a community-driven, community-led, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and neighborhood center based in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, Louisiana. The main goal of the Village is to bring together the entire Lower 9th Ward and to empower community members to be self-sufficient and to sustain an equitable quality of life. The Village focuses on connecting the elderly and youth, with services and providing care and guidance from the community as a whole. It takes a village…
The Lower 9th Ward Village is a community center that serves as a hub where all community members can access or create essential resources to empower themselves, be self-sufficient, become whole after Katrina and beyond, and sustain an equitable quality of life.
Why the Lower 9th Ward?
New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, a culturally vibrant and historic neighborhood, was devastated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. As one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm and the subsequent flooding of the city, the Lower 9th Ward saw thousands of residents displaced and homes destroyed.
The Lower Ninth Ward Village was the vision of Ward “Mack” McClendon.
After looking to distract himself from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in his Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Mack looked into leasing or buying an old building a few blocks away from his old home to work on old cars. But when the former telephone technician walked into the building at 1001 Charbonnet Street, he envisioned more than just a garage.
He began to envision a community center with a gymnasium, job training programs (recording studio, culinary area, computer labs) for youths, free meals for the homeless and more. Mack put renovating his home on hold. He bought the building in August 2007 and started working with community groups and volunteers to open the Lower 9th Ward Village Community Center.
Through the center, Mack hopes to “bring the community back, make it whole.” Mack healed after the storm by listening to other people’s stories, including tales of losing loved ones during Katrina. He realized that his problems – red tape with insurance and the Road Home program – were small compared with those of others he knew.
Over four years later, residents are slowly returning to rebuild their neighborhood. But the Lower 9th Ward desperately needs services to rebuild and sustain the community. The Lower 9th Ward Village will help fill this void by providing a range of services, from literacy, job training and apprenticeship programs to recreational facilities and community meeting space.
The Lower 9th Ward Village is a tax-exempt not-for-profit community center that will serve the residents of the Lower 9th Ward as they rebuild their lives and their community. The main purpose for the Lower 9th Ward Village is to serve as a focal point for residents returning to the neighborhood by offering a number of services in one centralized location, thereby contributing to community revitalization.