Cooperative Endeavor Agreement Almost Ready for Armstrong Park Redevelopment

Jason Riedy, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Save Our Soul Inc (S.O.S.) To Provide Mid-Year Report on August 17

At Corpus Christi-Epiphany Community Resource Center

The Save Our Soul Coalition (S.O.S.) and other stakeholders will update the community on the work SOS and the City of New Orleans have been doing to create a Strategic Master Plan (SMP) for Louis Armstrong Park. The meeting will be held Thursday, August 17 at 6 p.m. at the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Community Resource Center, 2020 St. Bernard Avenue Building C.  

More than two years ago a group of dedicated volunteers from Treme, the French Quarter and throughout the city came together to form the Save Our Soul Coalition (S.O.S.). Led by Ausettua Amor Amenkum and Jackie Harris, president of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the group gathered input from concerned stakeholders at several public meetings and began collaborating with city officials to develop a plan that would honor and respect the area’s historic role in New Orleans’ culture while also providing updated facilities and new ideas for programming. In 2022 the coalition expanded efforts to formally organize as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

“The citizens of New Orleans spoke loud and clear regarding their vision for the park. We heard them and have been working cooperatively in good faith with the Cantrell Administration and others to expeditiously bring the people’s consensus vision to fruition,” said Harris who serves as president of the S.O.S. Coalition. “Armstrong Park should receive the attention and resources afforded Audubon Park and City Park,” said Sabrina Mays, S.O.S. board member. 

“We are excited to be able to share information about the progress being made so far,” Harris continued. “First, we are close to having a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) in place with the City of New Orleans that will be our guide going forward.” The CEA will define the individual roles of S.O.S. and the City. A timeline for the completion of the Strategic Master Plan (SMP) has been created. The City has secured the participation of the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) which will fund the SMP. GNOF has identified MAROON Inc. to facilitate a joint CEA amongst the stakeholders.   

District C Councilmember Freddie King III and State Senator Royce Duplessis, both of whom have been supportive of the redevelopment, will make remarks.   

Representatives from the Levitt Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation will also be presenting updates. “Both organizations are committed to building or restoring historic properties on the site and programming public spaces consistent with the community’s consensus vision,” said Karen Ocker, S.O.S. board secretary.  

Save Our Soul coalition (S.O.S.) is a Louisiana non-profit corporation that was born from a coalition of dedicated volunteers from Treme, the French Quarter and throughout the city concerned with the future of Louis Armstrong Park which comprises Congo Square, the Municipal Auditorium, the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, and a cluster of historic buildings and sculptures. 

Members of the S.O.S. Coalition include Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Congo Square Preservation Society, French Quarter Citizens, Greater Treme Consortium, Historic Faubourg Treme Association, Justice & Beyond, Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective/Washitaw Nation, Louis Armstrong Education Foundation (New York), Louisiana Landmark Society, Music & Cultural Coalition of New Orleans, NAACP, New Orleans Black Mardi Gras Indians Co-Op, New Orleans Culture Preservation Committee, New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation, Ole & Nu Style Fellas, Timbuktu Warriors, Treme for Treme, Treme Sidewalk Steppers, Ubuntu, Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, Andrew Grafe, Ansel Augustine, Christopher Williams, Divine Prince Ty Emmecca, Dr. Lud Israel, Gilda Lewis, Jean-Marcel St. Jacques, Joell Lee, Karen Ocker, Rev. Gregory Manning, Belden Batiste, Natalie Manning, Renard Bridgewater and Tomas Isreal.

For more information contact Jackie Harris at 646-257-9141

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