$6.5 million secured for 9th Ward ‘Field of Dreams’ but more is needed

Promises of rebirth following Hurricane Katrina resulted in an Empty Field of Dreams
Promises of rebirth following Hurricane Katrina resulted in an Empty Field of Dreams
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:04 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A series of Fox 8 investigations into the Ninth Ward “Field of Dreams” revealed the prior board spent $1 million meant for the field, but nothing was built. Now, three years after our initial reports, state and federal leaders are putting up additional money to make the dream a reality.

The Ninth Ward Stadium Board is seeking to put a permanent football field and stadium at George Washington Carver High School, which would benefit several schools in New Orleans and provide a community space.

“Young children and young athletes should not have to travel all over to have access to a stadium,” Congressman Troy Carter says. “We’re grateful for the stadiums at City Park. We’re grateful for the stadium on the West Bank, but I think it’s appropriate to have one in the ninth ward as well.”

The Rams at Carver are thrilled to see the chains finally moving on the field, something Saints legend Deuce McAllister knows will benefit students beyond the hash marks.

“Sometimes that’s the motivation a young man or woman needs,” the former NFL running back says. “Just to be able to go to math class, to be able to say look I got English, but I also got gym and I really like sports... but I want to make sure I get good grades. We talk about being able to have a degree and sports allows a lot of people to obtain that degree.”

The prior board in charge of building the field spent $1 million with nothing to show for it. Now a new group has stepped up to secure over $6 million - $3.5 million from the state and another $3 million from the federal government.

“Coming up with three million dollars and having it hard money is to demonstrate that this is real,” Carter says. “People can feel comfortable making donations and people can feel comfortable that this is going to happen. We’re three-quarters of the way there with the funding, now its a matter of taking this over the goal post and we’re gonna do it, pun intended.”

Board member Arnie Fielkow says the field is an important addition not just for Carver but for schools across the area who will be able to use the state-of-the-art stadium.

The project is about $2.2 million from the goal and breaking ground.

“The board and I are almost every day aggressively looking for partners,” Fielkow says. “We’re having naming rights available, both for the stadium and the field, so we’re gonna get there. We’ve come a long way... 6.8 million. We’re at the twenty-yard line and were pushing to the endzone and we gotta keep working it, and I’m very confident we’re gonna find some good companies here that will want to support and help us finish this project.”

New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno committed to pressing fellow council members to find additional finds to help the effort.

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