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Touchdown for Lower 9th: Area Gets 40 New Homes
The newly redeveloped Oliver Bush Playground is a state of the art facility, but the most important element of recreational space is the people who play in it. Touchdown for Homes is bringing the Ninth Ward affordable, high quality houses. Volunteers and sponsors plan to erect a total of 40 new homes, but they’re starting small with three. The group unveiled the fruits of their labor at a press conference today, on the corner of N. Rocheblave and Andry Streets.
A tour through the new homes shows visitors new washers and dryers, spacious bedrooms, granite countertops, and shiny new appliances. The homes are built on high foundations, hurricane-proofed as much as possible. The Touchdown for Homes initiative is a collaborative effort between the Homebuilder’s Association of Greater New Orleans, the Louisiana Homebuilder’s Association, the NFL Player’s Association, and many more. The funding for the project was generated through federal, state, private, and municipal dollars.
The three homes came up in only 39 days thanks to the hard work of builders Randy Noel, Fernando Arriola, and Kenny Adams, among a long list of others. The homes will be “energy efficient, affordable, and dynamic,” and the project will “leverage attention [to the Ninth Ward] to let people know what needs to be done,” said Jon Luther, Executive Vice President of the Home Builder’s Association of New Orleans.
Luther also called attention to the fact that the Ninth Ward had a 71 percent home ownership rate among residents before the storm, noting that the area is a “homeowners community.” The goal now, according to Luther, is to attract “amenities” so that those in the area can “walk to the market, the clinic, or the school next door.”
The big guys from the local chapter of the NFL Players Association donated their time and efforts into getting the three houses built before the Super Bowl. A spokesperson for the organization said that they “look forward to making this a vibrant community again.”
NFL Players Association President Norman Hodgins said the retired NFL players were “determined this was going to happen.” Hodgins also quipped about the burly builds of the kindhearted gentlemen standing behind him. “The weight we have behind us, I don’t mean that in pounds I mean that in desire and going forward,” he said, to laughter. “And maybe in pounds, too.”
Touchdown for Homes has committed to building 40 houses total, putting them 37 away from their goal. Chair of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority James Singleton admitted his initial hesitance upon hearing Touchdown’s plans. However, the former Councilman and head honcho at NORA thanked everyone on the team for “living up to [their] word,” and completing the three homes before Super Bowl Sunday.
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