Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hello Friends and Family of the Village!

Fall has arrived in the Lower 9th. It’s back to school, back to work and back to blogging.

Fall is a season that always gives me a sense of hope. Not just hope that the New Orleans heat will end, or that we are nearing the end of a hurricane season that has so far left us whole, but also a hope that the work we do here at the Village will continue to impact the lives of our community, our volunteers and our partners positively.

Since it’s been awhile, I’d like to use this weeks blog to re-introduce ourselves: who we are, where we are & what we stand for.

So, welcome to the Village’s blog. We’re so happy to share our experiences with you and to invite you to be a part of our family.

Who are we?

Currently, there are three staff members at the Village.

Executive Director, Ward “Mack” McClendon- (watch this video of Mack talking about the neighborhood)

Our intrepid leader, the visionary, the big Kahuna. Mack’s dream for the Lower 9th Ward Village started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He grew up in the Lower 9th and has lived here for most of his life. Mack bought the warehouse that has become our home as a place to restore antique cars and furniture. However, after watching the destruction of his community, he felt led to become the change that was so desperately needed. Mack started to turn an old, flooded out warehouse into a community centre, particularly focusing on the needs of the elderly and of the youth in the Lower 9th, and helping people to return home. He has worked tirelessly for the last two years on behalf of his friends, family and neighbours to coordinate volunteer efforts, raise money and bring the life back to the Lower 9th one person at a time.

Controller, Endesha –

Endesha Juakali is a long-time friend of Mack and a resident of New Orleans’ 7th Ward. He handles financial matters and keeping everyone in line at the Village.

Director of Operations, Jennifer Neelsen

Jennifer is originally from California, but fell in love with NOLA when she moved here two years ago. She first met Mack and came to the village when a friend brought her to volunteer. After two days of scraping old paint and helping to fix the roof, she know that she was hooked. She just started as Director of Operations at he Village and is focusing on fundraising, marketing and programming.

Where are we?

View Larger Map

The Village is located at 1001 Charbonnet in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward.

What do we stand for?


Lower 9th Ward Village is a community-driven, community-led non-profit based in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans. 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…