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Our Story

As soon as the HANO/City-commissioned report on Character of Place as Social Capital in the Revitalization of the Iberville Housing Project and the Surrounding Tremé/Lafitte Neighborhood in New Orleans began to circulate, residents of the neighborhood who are active in civic life began responding positively to it. Many found it to be an accurate picture of the community, and some found it highly congruent with their own ongoing work and with what they themselves have previously affirmed about the place. The report was described as having “rediscovered” things the community has previously and repeatedly discovered about itself.


A group representing several non-profits, business, and community leaders with a long history of working in social services, community and economic development, and culture in the Tremé neighborhood has come together to begin designing the future they want and  developing a strategic plan for how to create that future. They are reaching out widely within the community to develop a broadly based vision and process.


What they are developing is fundamentally different from providing input into a planning process, or providing community engagement. They are stepping forward to take the primary role in creating their own future. The first words of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative  application for New Orleans were that “Nearly six years ago, when the city had been inundated with flood waters, some national leaders pronounced that New Orleans was dead and suggested not to rebuild. This once great city refused to accept that pronouncement…” It is widely recognized that it was the deep resilience of New Orleans, rising from the love of its people for the place and its culture, that produced a bottom-up process of renewal. This neighborhood is ready to take its place and accept its responsibility in continuing that renewal.


Most important, the people and institutions of this neighborhood are ready to take responsibility for planning their own future, and creating that future. Rather than merely providing input concerning their needs and desires, or stepping forward to play a role in initiatives designed by others, they are prepared to take a primary role and ask for partnerships to complement their efforts.


The goal is to create a state that we call resilient autonomy, in which a community is self-directed and capable of constantly renewing itself in a healthy, sustainable way. We believe the path to resilient autonomy is through neighborhood-led asset-based

community and economic development.

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