A Remarkable Year

A year at New Orleans Habitat is counted not in days or months, but in lives changed. Two dozen families and individuals became homeowners through hard work and perseverance. People came from around the world to build homes, and they left with new friendships, new skills, and a new understanding of what home means.

A block on Hermes Street in New Orleans East transformed, and a dozen lives changed. Michelle spent the fall and winter decorating her home with Halloween, and then Christmas, decorations. Her neighbor, Leonard, works with her at Parks and Parkways. He moved in a few months after she did. In the Lower Ninth Ward, Steve Glenn moved in early in the year, around the corner from his friends Marty, Reid, and Scott, all Habitat homeowners as well. Not far from him are the 2018 Women Build homeowners, Kina and Brittani. The two cousins have lots right next to each other and are building a future together as family. In St. Roch, a small community is forming on Tonti, where a cluster of friends have chosen lots near each other: Jessa, Roy, and Jessica join their friends as Habitat homeowners. Their lives have been changed by the new homes and communities they have built.

This was a year of reunions, as former AmeriCorps members, Unity Build volunteers, and long-time volunteer partners came back to site, including the Dirty Dozen Newcomb College alumnae and other groups. This year also saw the return of the Bench and Bar Build, which brought together legal professionals, lawyers, and judges from around the city to help build a Habitat home. This was the first Bench and Bar event since before Hurricane Katrina. Few volunteers leave the build site without a story of how their experiences impacted them. Whether it’s new skills, new friends, or new insights into the importance of affordable housing, they are changed by the work.

This was a year of music: from Steve Glenn’s musical home dedication to the John the Martyr concert at Tipitina’s to the Banga Build this December, musicians were part of our world, as they have been for decades. Music is the soul of New Orleans, and our partnerships with musicians, whether homeowners or supporters, always bring our build sites a special joy.

The year saw our second ReStore near completion. It will open in early 2019 and help us raise awareness and fund new homes and projects, as well as providing affordable furniture, appliances, and construction materials to the Kenner area.

Next year will bring more than the second ReStore. Our third annual Women Build, our next Unity Build, and more are on the calendar. We will be hosting our first special Parent-Child Build, participating in the Crescent City Classic for the first time, and continuing to build affordable homes for and with hard-working local families. It will be another year of lives changed, all thanks to your support.

Thank you for a remarkable 2018. We look forward to an even more incredible 2019 with you.