ACORN Holds Its First Annual Rebuilding Fair
(ED NOTE: This article has been revised from an earlier version which erroneously named the event organizer, Crystal
Dixon as Crystal Tucker. Apologies to Ms. Dixon, who obviously managed through hard work to pull this event together.)
NEW ORLEANS, La. (APRIL 13, 2008) -- Up to 200 people came through
the Lower Ninth Ward Center for ACORN's first annual Rebuilding Fair,
organizer Crystal Dixon said. The event, held indoors at the center in case of
rain, was put on by the New Orleans Association of Community Organiza-
tions for Reform Now (ACORN) to give residents resources to help with
the rebuilding process.
ACORN had representatives available to recruit new members and help hurricane survivors with voter
registration, offer housing advocacy or help with other services available to hurricane survivors.
Hurricane Katrina survivors could sign up for house gutting, lead-testing, a home-buyer’s program,
house painting, and tax filing.
With balloons, raffles, and food, the ACORN fair seemed to be a winner in the eyes of excited
hurricane survivors. Inside a historic building ruined by Katrina floodwaters in 2005 being brought back
to life - at St. Claude and Tupelo St. of the lower ninth ward - vibrancy took over. It made the
unfinished walls or bathroom door in partially repaired halls of the grand old building appear even more
relevant to the urgency of rebuilding.
Several tables were tended by fellow hurricane survivors from Whitney
Bank, Mortgage First, and Dryades Savings and Loan, offering ser-
vices. On hand were representatives from Entergy (a common deno-
minator offering energy-saving help in community neighborhood events),
contractors, and LSU students from the school's disaster recovery
survey. ACORN reps hawked the organization's T-shirts and buttons.
Rachel James, of the ninth ward, who said she's been back in New
Orleans for a year now, was thrilled to win one of several gorgeously-
decorated Mother's Day, Graduation, or ACORN custom-made cakes
by local baker Marian, who goes by the nickname NOLA'S Cake Diva.
The Cake Diva was on hand, personally serving cuts of her sweet
treats as ACORN held back-to-back raffle contests to award several
cakes, weatherization kits, first aid kits, and Wal-Mart gift cards.
By early afternoon, with spaghetti plates, cake, and other goodies going or gone, the lively crews and
attendees began to fold up gear, with an apparent feeling of accomplishment, surely thinking of ways to
make a second Rebuilding Fair even bigger and better.
Rachel James proudly shows a
Mother's Day cake she won in raffle