Community, Spirit, and Soul in the Lower Ninth Ward
Waskom, Erin Elizabeth
Rockcastle, Garth C.
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Five years ago, New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the city has almost made a full recovery; except for the Lower Ninth Ward. Limited efforts to rebuild housing and no consideration for social and community infrastructure made it nearly impossible for former residents to come home. However, the spirit of the Lower Ninth Ward stays alive in the festive Second Line parade culture of the people who continue to come back every weekend to dance down the streets and celebrate with one another, making the public street the symbol of community life. This thesis explores the cultural and social fabric of the Lower Ninth Ward in order to propose an appropriate architectural intervention to function as an epicenter for community life and serve as a catalyst for rebuilding. The design proposition includes an intervention along the neutral ground on Claiborne Avenue with market, bar, performance, and festival spaces across the intersection of Claiborne and Forstall Street. Urban farming plots for the community are allocated along the rest of the neutral ground. To supplement these community spaces, design guidelines are provided for live/work commercial units along part of Claiborne, and housing guidelines are assigned for the remaining blocks along Claiborne and the rest of the Lower Ninth Ward.