Some in the 9th Ward say the community must take the reins of the recovery

Some in the 9th Ward say the community must take the reins of the recovery

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some residents of the lower 9th Ward said they are ready to take the lead in reviving their community. They believe the area is not getting its due in terms of efforts for a full post-Katrina recovery.

"This is how you come and leave the sidewalk after you repair it and all of the sidewalk is cracked, why not just fix the whole thing?" said resident Kim Ford of sidewalk work done. She considers it to be very shoddy.

Ford is Vice President of the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association and said soon she will become the Executive Director for the Lower Nine Vision Coalition.

On this Thanksgiving, Ford said she has a lot to be thankful for, but she can't turn a blind eye to problems in her community.

To be sure, the 9th Ward is still replete with signs of Katrina's damage. Many lots where homes once stood remain vacant, still there are signs of determination. Rebuilt homes dot many streets with empty homes. Some who did not live in the lower 9th ward before the hurricane have chosen to live there now.

Ford said everyone has to come together to get the results the neighborhood deserves.

"We have to be the change that we want to see from our elected officials and that we can be more proactive about what we want here because we cannot depend on them," she said.

Earlier this month voters statewide defeated a constitutional amendment that would have allowed hundreds of empty 9th Ward lots to be sold for $100.

State Rep. Wesley Bishop (D- New Orleans) fought in the state legislature to get the issue on ballot and he said he is not giving up.

"We're willing to do whatever is necessary to try to move this community forward," he said.

Bishop said the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, or NORA, has to become more creative and find ways to make the lots more affordable for people willing to move to the 9th Ward.

"We can't just simply say we're going to put the houses, the lots up for sale, sell them for $10 or $20,000 and then expect individuals to buy property in that area when you don't have the kind of amenities that need to be there," he said.

Bishop agrees more commerce is needed.

"CVS is coming to the lower 9th Ward. You have the fire station that's actually coming together, a community center that's actually coming. We already have Cafe' Dauphine which is already there as well as the MLK new high school, so those are good examples, but we need more examples of that," he said.

Ford said more progress should have been realized by now.

"That's a very little and it's very late, I'm saying bring that and then some," she said.

And Ford said as they prepare to bring more pressure on city leaders she is working to make sure the community speaks with a unified voice. She is working on a leadership summit of sorts, to bring together all those spearheading efforts in hopes of reviving the 9th Ward.

"So that we can all sit down and talk about what has been happening and where we want to see our neighborhood go," said Ford.

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