Economic opportunity revitalizes communities. The Renaissance Project spearheads initiatives like the designation of St. Claude Avenue as a ‘main street’ and the redevelopment of St. Maurice Church and School.
We plan to redevelop the St. Maurice Church and School with a highly entrepreneurial mix of community spaces, businesses and services on one city block. In addition to our own offices, the buildings will house a green jobs training program; a sanctuary for racial equity dialogues, healing and reconciliation; a retreat space with overnight accommodations; a gymnasium; a performance space; and a commercial kitchen and food distribution center.
Redevelopment of the St. Maurice Church site will allow us to bring our offices back to the Lower Ninth Ward from our current location on Canal Street.
We envision using the spaces as follows:
St. Maurice Church
The Renaissance Project is one of four Kellogg Foundation grantees in Louisiana under its Racial Healing Initiative. We have received additional support for this work from Open Society Foundations. Most importantly, the sanctuary, built in the 1850′s will be used as an interfaith sanctuary, to extend our racial healing work, for meetings, meditation, and the difficult and necessary conversations about challenges and needs in the African American community.
St. Maurice School
The second story of St. Maurice School would be used to house mildly mentally disabled, homeless and indigent clients of Pyramid Resources. Pyramid would also occupy some of the first floor rooms for office space. In addition, the first floor would house a training program for green building trades. While we will seek additional entrepreneurs to do trainings and light manufacturing in first floor classroom spaces, Pyramid would be our anchor tenant in the school building.
The second floor of the rectory would be used as retreat space and overnight accommodations for nonprofit organizers. The first floor of the rectory will be used for storage and a commercial kitchen. The commercial kitchen, refrigerator, freezer storage space and truck access through the adjacent yard will facilitate scaling up of our food bank and fresh market programs to serve up to 8,000 clients per month.
The gymnasium will be home of the Sam Bonart Bulldogs, our New Orleans Recreation Department, NORD, neighborhood youth athletic teams. And behind the wall at the north end of the basketball court there is a stage, which will allow the space to be used for live performance as well.
Our supporters include: Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and evelopment, Leona Tate Foundation for Change, Tekrema Center for Arts and Culture, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Crescent City Peace Alliance, Pyramid Resource Wellness Institute, CulinaryCorps, and UrbanBloom.