In December 2006, Groundwork New Orleans partnered with Timberland Boot Company, City Year, Ashe Cultural Arts Center and the Oretha Castle Haley Main Street Program to create a large scale beautification and rainwater management project along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.
Nearly 600 volunteers contributed to the effort in 2006. Since then, Groundwork New Orleans has received over 1,300 labor and professional service volunteer hours toward the maintenance of the gardens as well as community clean-ups. Volunteers include participants from a substance abuse rehabilitation program run by a church on O.C. Haley Boulevard. Working with Hands On New Orleans, a volunteer coordinating non-profit, we have hosted volunteers from Baltimore and Seattle, Massachussetts and Nebraska. Many Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) have helped along the way, as well.
The upcoming year is going to be very busy for us in Central City. We are working on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. (formerly Dryades St.), part of Louisiana’s comprehensive Main Street revitalization program designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional commercial areas.
A few bits of helpful information for our volunteers
The key to really enjoying your time is being open and flexible. You are coming to a site that volunteers have spent many hours on and will spend many more hours on. Some tasks may seem small but each is important to the project and to the longer-term goals. We kindly ask that you work on them with your most energetic enthusiasm, but don’t be shy if something doesn’t seem to be working right.
There may be afternoon thunderstorms or overcast days, but most of the time it is going to be hot and sunny. Prepare by bringing water, sun block, bug spray, and whatever else you may need. Take breaks in the shade and listen to what your body tells you. On that note, Dress appropriately and comfortably. Don’t where open-toed shoes or sandals. We will provide volunteers with work gloves, but feel free to bring your own. Long sleeves and long socks provide additional protection from the sun, insects, broken glass, and mishaps with tools and materials.
If you are staying more than a couple of hours you may want to bring a lunch or some snacks. Right on O. C. Haley is a reasonably-priced and Zagat-rated restaurant Café Reconcile, which is a teaching restaurant for at-risk youth.
Make sure to enjoy yourself while you are here and keep in mind that we all have a purpose. We need all of our volunteers to be focused, healthy and well-rested when they are on the worksite.
If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer, please feel free to email Alicia Neal or call our Green Team Coordinator, Eric Kugler, at (504) 463-4703.