Today is the grand opening of the New Orleans Healing Center on the corner of St. Claude and St. Roch in NOLA. While Hurricane Irene batters the east coast, the center is the culmination of the restoration of certain goods and services that were missing after another hurricane: Katrina.
For many it has been a labor of love getting it off the ground. There have been countless meetings, gatherings, planning and fundraising over the years to make it a reality. There has been outreach to communities surrounding the center to discover what services are needed in areas where much of the infrastructure was destroyed after Katrina. But it tries to do things a bit differently by aiming to achieve sustainability and healing to both immediate and long term needs.
One immediate need fulfilled is The New Orleans Food Co-op. In the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as several large sections of town, there are no grocery stores nearby in an area where many don’t own a car. A fitness center, dance studio, yoga studio, credit union and interfaith center also deliver needed services in an area that lacks this critical infrastructure.
For longer term needs and greater healing of the physical, emotional, spiritual and economic there are the healing arts, street university and green business incubators. The healing arts provides many healing services on a sliding scale. Others aim to help people help themselves with education and starting the sustainable businesses of the future.
There’s also dining and entertainment bringing healthy food and music to the area with a performance space. These last two synergistic businesses work with many of the others to bring people to the center to offer one place to accomplish many needs as once. Their cooperative nature would allow one to work out and shop, attend a class then eat.
For me, I’ve helped out in meetings, fundraisers and other events to help where I can. My main support has been to Saumya, who has written about it in her Huffington Post article. Giving occasional business and infrastructure support is sometimes as much as I can do holding a fulltime job and running the hobby farm.
I wish I could be a part of the grand opening occurring as I write this. I encourage all to stop by and see this fabulous achievement today at the grand opening, or on your next stop to NOLA. It is indeed a labor of love, blood sweat and tears as well as an unending dedication to the community of so many in New Orleans, a city I call my second home.
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