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  • CSED Releases Lower 9 Food Action Plan

    Announcing the launch of the Lower Ninth Ward Food Action Plan – a project of the Lower Ninth Ward Food Access Coalition (LNWFAC). THE PLAN is a comprehensive plan of action written by Lower Ninth ward residents and community leaders committed to tackling the food access issues of the Lower Ninth Ward, which is considered a “food desert” by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    The official unveiling of The Lower Ninth Ward Food Action Plan will take place on February 23, 2013 at 11am at All Souls Episcopal Church, 5500 St. Claude Ave. at Caffin Avenue, with words from District E Councilman James Gray and Councilwoman-At-Large Stacy Head, CSED Executive Director Arthur Johnson and members of the LNWFAC.

    The LNWFAC and CSED believe that the Food Action Plan addresses the problems and provides solutions to the Lower Ninth Ward’s issue of poor food access, naming three projects chosen by residents to improve the availability of quality food in the Lower Ninth Ward: a mobile grocery store, a healthy corner store and a school-based grocery store. Additionally, the Food Action Plan further empowers an already strong community to assess and champion the needs of its residents independently.

    Download a copy of the Food Action Plan here.

  • Say Hello to your Holy Cross Project Neighbors!

    With the closing of 417 Andry, all the Global Green Houses on Andry Street are occupied! The new Holy Cross Project residents include: a free-lance writer who has written for the Times Picayune (among other publications) and frequently on issues regarding the L9; a teacher/advocate for our public schools, non-profit employees in the fields of HIV/AIDS prevention and mental health; an architect and a Director with Hope Credit Union. So, today, an entire block, formerly vacant, is filled with four families who are thrilled to call
    this neighborhood HOME! If you get the chance, be sure to say “Hello”.

  • Exploring Lower Ninth Ward Streets & Transportation: Join the Conversation, Saturday, Dec. 8

    Join CSED, LSU's College of Art & Design and the L9 Center for the Arts on Saturday, December 8 from 3 to 5 pm. Our Talk and Reception will explore ideas for "Rethinking Truck, Automobile, Bus, Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes" throughout the recovering Lower Ninth Ward.

    This special event will be held at the L9 Center for hte Arts, 539 Caffin Avenue. Call 832-368-1679 if you have any questions. See you there!

  • What's Going on with Bayou Bienvenue?

    Join us for a special community update on the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle: Tuesday, November 27, 7pm to 9pm, All Souls Church & Community Center, 5500 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans. The Bayou is an integral part of the Lower Ninth Ward’s past, present and future. Hosted by All Souls Church, the Sierra Club, the CSED, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, the National Wildlife Federation, and others.

    Understanding the trends of the ecosystem degradation is an important starting point for the ecosystem restoration project. We want to restore the health, vitality, and sustainability of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle Ecosystem. As we have seen in the wake of multiple hurricanes, we cannot rely solely on levees to protect us from storm surges and flooding. It will take the restoration of the wetlands to bring us added security as well as a wonderful opportunity for community involvement.

    Download CSED's latest info sheet on Bayou Bienvenue here.

    For Lower Ninth Ward residents, this project is a source of hope and inspiration, but there are serious obstacles and numerous uncertainties with the proposed restoration solutions. Restoring the bayou is a low maintenance, long-term investment that will continue to provide protection for the New Orleans area over the years. As a result of the efforts of the CSED, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and other Lower 9th Ward groups, the Bayou Bienvenue has been included in both the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan and the Army Corps of Engineers' MRGO Ecosystem Restoration Plan, but neither has yet committed any funding to its restoration.

    You can help out by contacting the CSED office and advocating for a healthier bayou!

  • CSED Presents at the Tom Dent Congo Square Symposium This Friday, Nov. 9 - Join Us!

    Join CSED and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation for a series of important discussions about community recovery during the Tom Dent Congo Square Symposium on Friday, November 9 at Basin Street Station, 501 Basin Street, New Orleans.

    Discussions in the morning will focus on how to incorporate diverse communities into recovery efforts when areas are devastated in various ways. From the Lower 9th Ward being inundated after Hurricane Katrina, to the disappearing coastline in southern Louisiana to Treme being ravaged by demolition and neglect, many communities in our region and nationally are struggling to recover from massive disruptions. We'll discuss ways communities here and elsewhere are rising to such challenges.

    Admission to the symposium free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and a cocktail reception will follow. Seating is limited, so please register in advance here.

    Recovering Disrupted Sites
    Presented by the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development (CSED)

    8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
    Disrupted Sites: From Disaster to Recovery
    Here and around the world, communities have been disrupted by disasters both natural and man-made. Especially in urban America, people of color often have not been able to participate in their own recovery. Our presenters discuss cities that have experienced massive disruptions – and share successful strategies for rebuilding the urban environment with dialogue and inclusiveness.

    Moderator and Presenter: Glenn LaRue Smith, ASLA,  Smith + Murray Studios, Washington D.C.

    Diane Jones, ASLA, DesignJones LLC, New Orleans and Baltimore
    Douglas Williams, University of Illinois
    Philip Gallegos, University of Colorado Denver

    10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
    Losing Ground: Disappearing Coastlines – and Urban Centers
    Louisiana is ground-zero for land loss both literal and figurative. We’ve got the highest rate of coastline disappearance in the nation, and our largest city has suffered one of the greatest disruptions in modern history. How can communities of color address catastrophic events and the opportunities that come with rebuilding?

    Moderator: Happy Johnson, National Wildlife Federation

    Charles Allen III, Director, Mayor's Office of Environmental Affairs and Coastal Programs, New Orleans
    Matilda Tennessee, Director, Limitless Vistas, New Orleans
    Rev. Tyrone Edwards, Zion Travelers Cooperative, Phoenix and Plaquemines Parish
    Dr. Earthea A. Nance, University of New Orleans

    11:30 p.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    Opening the City: How to Design and Build the Place We Want for Living
    How do we build the livable city of the near future? By including all of the people in re-imagining and rebuilding the urban environment. Ideals of the “open city” and the “just city” must be incorporated, along with the skills of design, architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning – which, if used wisely, can help us rebuild in ways that recover lost ground and renew our culture.

    Moderator: David Lee, FAIA, Stull & Lee, Boston

    Dan Etheridge, Associate Director, Tulane City Center, Tulane University, New Orleans
    Lonnie Wilkinson, NOMA, AIA, Dean, School of Architecture, Southern University at Baton Rouge
    Jacques Morial, Owner, Enterprise Strategies Public Policy Development & Analysis, New Orleans

  • MAKE GROCERIES With Us @ Grocery Store For-A-Day in the Lower 9, Saturday, Oct. 20!

    Join us at Grocery Store For-A-Day, coming Saturday Oct. 20th @ All Souls Church in the Lower Ninth Ward!

    In association with National Food Day, the Lower Ninth Ward Food Access Coalition is hosting a Grocery Store For-A-Day event in the Lower 9th Ward. The event will feature a “pop-up” grocery store, providing a unique opportunity for people to “make groceries” in the Lower 9th Ward, which currently has no grocery store and is considered a “food desert.” What's a food desert? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), people in urban communities of 500 or more who live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. Otherwise, they are considered living in "food deserts." Gone are the many corner stores and local grocers and backyard gardens pre-Katrina. Today, the closest full service grocery store available to the Lower 9 is about 3.5 miles away in St. Bernard Parish. More than 30 percent of Lower 9 residents do not have access to transportation to get to that grocery store.

    With this event, the Coalition aims to draw attention to the Lower 9th Ward's “food desert” status. Within this special all-day, 'pop-up' grocery store, Lower 9 residents will be able to shop through 3 aisles of grocery products AND 2 produce displays! Fill up a grocery bag and give a donation. By bringing people together for the grocery store experience, food, fun and dialogue, we will be able to spotlight the need in this segment of New Orleans - a city known as a food capital in this country, yet many residents do not have access to fresh, affordable food.

    What is National Food Day? National Food Day is a national grassroots mobilization aimed at promoting healthy, sustainable, affordable and just food systems in America.


    WHEN: October 20, 2012 10am-5pm
    WHERE: All Souls Church at 5500 St. Claude Avenue @ Caffin Avenue
    WHAT: Grocery Store For-A-Day event

    Interested in learning more, or getting involved? Contact Jenga Mwendo at or (504) 994-7745 or Beverly Jackson at (504) 324-9955.

  • Recent UNO Study Looks at Market Value in the Lower 9th Ward

    Market Value in the Lower 9th Ward: Evaluating Reinvestment for the New Orleans Re-development Authority summarizes the findings of a University of New Orleans (UNO) course project – designed to answer the question: “What is market value in the Lower Ninth Ward?”

    Completed in May 2012, the NORA Pilot Reinvestment Project (NPRP), under the direction of Dr. Michelle Thompson, first reviewed national housing market trends from last quarter of the year 2011. Next, the study provides an overview of the New Orleans Metropolitan real estate market, focusing on its population, traffic flow, and housing trends; including projections to the year 2016. The Lower Ninth Ward is then described in detail, highlighting its history, challenges, and the impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A list of the current housing recovery efforts serving the Lower Ninth Ward are then presented.

    The second part of this report includes the focus on a particular section of the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood designated by NORA as a pilot area for redevelopment and economic investment. Download Market Value in the Lower 9th Ward.

  • Connect the 9: Bridging St. Claude for All Users – study now available!

    Connect the 9 (Ct9), a landmark study on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety across the Lower 9’s St. Claude Avenue Bridge is now available. A joint project of CSED and University of New Orleans Urban and Regional Planning students, Ct9 examines the needs, challenges and options for all users of the St. Claude Avenue Bridge, which connects the Upper and Lower 9th Wards across the Industrial Canal.

    According to the new study:

    “New Orleans ranks among the top cities in the country for walking and bicycling. Higher-than-average rates of active transportation are linked to important factors such as population density, historic neighborhoods, mass transit and park access, and also to the city’s low car ownership rates and the many residents who walk and bicycle out of necessity.

    The St. Claude Avenue Bridge poses a dangerous and unjust obstacle to connectivity for non-motorized users, especially for residents of the Lower 9th Ward who rely on the bridge for access to jobs and amenities on the opposite side of the Industrial Canal in the core of the city.”

    Through surveys, a bicycle and pedestrian count, interviews, and meetings with Lower 9 residents and other stakeholders, researchers conclude that improving accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians across the St. Claude Avenue Bridge would increase public health, safety and equity. The group presented their findings to the New Orleans City Council last spring. Download the full report here.

  • Please Join Us for Next Food Action Planning Meeting: This Friday, July 13 at 6 pm

    The next Food Action Planning meeting will take place on July 13th at 6 pm. Work groups that formed after the 2nd meeting have been meeting steadily since May. Come to hear updates from the work groups, as well as the outcome of the Undoing Racism In The Food System workshop and our meeting with The Food Trust and Sterling Farms. And learn how you can get involved in planning for better food access in the Lower 9th Ward!!

    For more information, including the meeting location, contact Jenga Mwendo, CSED's Food Security Coordinator, at (504) 994-7745.

  • CSED & the Community Continue to Make Progress on Food Action Plan

    Since April, CSED has been organizing Lower 9th Ward residents and community leaders to create their own Food Action Plan for access to fresh, quality food in our neighborhood. On June 15, we held the 3rd of 8 community planning meetings. Read our meeting summary below!

    Purpose: Review Existing Plans for the Lower 9th Ward and Develop a Community Food Vision


    • Collective review of relevant elements of the Master Plan (because anything we plan will be easier to accomplish if it is in line with this) and current/approved projects for the Lower 9th Ward (so that we can plan with regard to what's already happening in the neighborhood).
    • Approval of first-draft Community Food Vision: “We, the proud residents of the Lower 9th Ward, envision a community where access to fresh, quality food is convenient and affordable.”
    • Undoing Racism in the Food System registration forms distributed and completed. There are still spots available to those who are interested. Lower 9th Ward residents who are participating in the Food Planning process have priority. Email to register.


    • Our definition of a healthy food system, which was worded by Jenga Mwendo and Vincent Wilson using verbage from the discussion at the May 18th community meeting, was announced and posted: “We define a healthy food system for the Lower 9th Ward community as a community-controlled environment that is planned strategically by the community, where we have the food we want and need, and where the market is sustained by educating the vendors and consumers, involving the youth, creating jobs, and respecting our culture.”
    • National Food Day Work Group report given by Vincent Wilson. An event for National Food Day (October 24, 2012) is being planned to draw attention to the lack of food access in the Lower 9th Ward, what we're doing in response, and to solicit support for our efforts. We are looking for assistance in the following areas: Media, Logistics, Programming, Sponsorship, Political Outreach, and Grocery Store Management.
    • Core Group report given by Nilima Mwendo. The Core Group is formed of people who commit to the Food Action Planning process by participating in all community planning meetings, as well as joining and/or leading work groups. The group met twice since the May 18th meeting to help guide the planning process. They came up with three vision statements based on the verbage from the community input at 1st meeting.
    • There was constructive, open discussion about what the vision statement should say and finally an agreement on a “mash-up” statement as a first draft, which will be further developed by the Core Group to include inspirational words and a call to action.
    • Meeting participants were invited to get involved by joining the Core Group or the National Food Day Work Group.

    Contact: Jenga Mwendo, Food Security Coordinator, or (504) 994-7745.