lowernine.org is dedicated to training residents and volunteers in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the numerous skills necessary to bring this century-old historic neighborhood back to life in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These skills run the gamut from basic to advanced house construction and rebuilding, but also include community gardening projects, emotional and social support services, social outreach and community development. We offer our services to all people, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, physical abilities, religious beliefs or economic status.

The Lower Ninth Ward, due to its proximity to the Industrial Canal levee breach, was one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the New Orleans area. Rebuilding in the Lower Nine has lagged behind that of other neighborhoods as a result of poverty, the scale of the devastation and local, state and federal government inaction. lowernine.org, in collaboration with Emergency Communities and other organizations working in the neighborhood, will be expanding upon its already established home rebuilding/skills training program, and providing access to counseling services and basic medical care, as a first step toward establishing a holistic approach to resurrecting the neighborhood.

lowernine.org founder, Rick Prose, began his work in the Lower Ninth Ward in February, 2007. Starting with the premise that training in basic carpentry and finish work was needed for the mostly unskilled volunteers, who were still flocking to the ravaged city, Rick began the process of bringing volunteers of all ages from New England to rebuild the house of the Bradley family on El Dorado Street. Working closely with Emergency Communities, he soon realized that rebuilding houses was only one of the challenges facing the beleaguered residents. The entire social fabric of post-Katrina communities will have to be rebuilt and supported for an indefinite period of time if the community is to stand a fighting chance of surviving for another century.

In addition to collaborating with other organizations with similar missions, we will be working closely with community leaders in the Lower Nine, to reach the greatest number of residents and to maximize the potential of what we are certain will be a giant step forward in re-establishing the community.