How long have you lived in your neighborhood?
I moved into the Hollygrove-Dixon neighborhood in early 2006. My mother lived in the neighborhood for many years. After the storm, she wanted to return home. Because she could no longer live by herself, I left my Westbank neighborhood of 26 years and returned back to the city.
What do you love about your neighborhood?
I love the size and location of Hollygrove-Dixon. We are one of the smallest yet centrally located neighborhoods in the city. It's like going to the suburbs after a long day of hustle and bustle. Our neighborhood is sandwiched between Airline Highway and the Pontchartrain Expressway. We are a 15 minute drive to the airport going west, and to Lake Forest going east. We are 5 minutes from the Superdome, City Hall, and the new medical complex on Tulane Ave. We are 10 minutes from Lakeside Mall and Oakwood Shopping Center.
What successes have you had in your neighborhood association?
One of our greatest successes was stopping a builder from building death trap houses. He has built several of these houses in the neighborhood. They are called "death trap" houses because there is only one door used as the entrance/exit. Although only 2 stories, the house is elevated. The base of a window on the first floor is more than 6'. One of these structures caught fire. The upstairs resident had to throw her children out of the window to the catching hands of neighbors. When she jumped, she broke both legs. The association president spoke with the builder about putting in a rear door, but the builder refused. He continued building these houses throughout the city. On his last attempt to build another on land acquired through NORA, we were able to stop his plans. He was then required to submit new architectural plans and include rear exits to the structure.
Do you have any upcoming events or projects?
We have several plans on the drawing board, i.e., a community garden and a playspot for our children. There are no playgrounds or parks. The park assigned to our neighborhood by NORDC is on the other side of an eight lane highway. Our greatest achievement has been an answer to the many, many, prayers for a Life Transformation Center or commonly called a community center. There were so many obstacles in our way but we continued to press forward, and will be moving into our center in the very near future.
What advice would you give to other neighborhood leaders?
My advice is "no matter how hard the battle gets or no matter how many people DON’T believe in your dream, never give up!” It’s difficult to wait, but more difficult to regret.