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Drug Corner Transformed to Cultural Center

Adams St. Cultural Development Center

Adams St. Cultural Development Center

As you drive down the streets in New Orleans, you see many old, historic homes that have been lovingly brought back to life after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They have been painted the colors of the rainbow. Aqua blue, golden yellow and yes, flamingo pink. Beyond the food, music, and people, bold color is what gives New Orleans neighborhoods flair.

Blight also characterizes these neighborhoods.

Katrina is responsible for most of it. Abandoned houses that are decayed and forgotten dot the landscape. Only trouble makers take up residence in them.

But on the corner of Hickory and Adams streets in the Carrollton neighborhood, one place has a story to tell.

It’s the old Hickory St. Meat Market that anchored the corner – a corner once known for its heavy drug trade. Right across from a neighborhood cemetery.

Anna Morgan and Rodney Wooten knew the corner well. It was a place to avoid. Morgan, a long time resident of Carrollton, and Wooten, a former Dean of Students in two New Orleans public schools, longed to create a different type of environment. One where people become empowered and determined to create a better life for themselves. They wanted to revitalize the community with something positive and healthy.

They focused on the Hickory St. Meat Market.

“We did it to clean up the neighborhood and to give our youth and senior citizens a safe place to live and grow,” said Wooten.

After several false starts and running off drug dealers, Morgan and Wooten received seed money to refurbish the home and create the Adams Street Cultural Arts Development Center. The center has become a beacon in the neighborhood, housing a multitude of programs for both youth and seniors in the community. Wooten directs Kids Coupes, a program that fosters the intellectual talent in kids, from the center as well as promotes community involvement through recreation, cultural activities, education and wellness.

Morgan and Wooten are self-reliant too. Instead of solely depending on donations and grants, they rent the center for weddings, receptions, parties and seminars.

Find out how you can get involved in your neighborhood.

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