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To encourage social change by improving the quality of life for New Orleans residents through the promotion of arts, culture, and recreation.
To celebrate culture and diversity while improving the lives of those who live and work in New Orleans.
Today, the MotherShip Foundation is focused on three programs to achieve its organizational mission and to meet the need for safe, affordable, and accessible recreation in Mid-City, a neighborhood that is considered "the heart of New Orleans," and houses one of the largest historic districts of the City, hosts the Mid-City Art Market, and is the location for Mardi Gras's celebrated Endymion parade among other cultural and artistic highlights:
- Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo --Mission: to restore the social fabric of Mid-City and Faubourg St. John; to connect neighbors, neighborhoods, and businesses; and to provide hope for the future by creating an opportunity for all residents to celebrate the heritage, culture, and diversity of New Orleans. The festival is located on the historically significant banks of Bayou St. John, in Mid-City New Orleans, which is zoned by the city as recreational/open space. In the festival's four years of operation to date, the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo has quickly established itself as a new tradition that preserves the culture and heritage of this historic and beautiful urban waterway. The importance of the Bayou Boogaloo to Mid-City New Orleans is apparent in the support the festival receives from neighborhood organizations. The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Organization, and Parkview Neighborhood Organization all function as collaborative action networks for local merchants and residents. Bayou Boogaloo also serves as a crucial outreach tool for the MotherShip Foundation's approach to meeting needs by motivating citizens to actively engage themselves in matters that affect their community, collaborate with other organizations, build awareness, and demand better recreational opportunities from our government agencies. This community-based approach has proven to be successful largely because policy-makers tend to listen to numbers and the media, both of which MotherShip Foundation involves, when it comes to making fundamental change.
- Jeff Davis Play Spots --Mission: to build a playground that creates an opportunity to improve the quality of life and health for underserved children and their families. The proposed site for this project is along Jefferson Davis Parkway, which is in one of the 17 recovery zones that the City of New Orleans has targeted to spur redevelopment and accelerate recovery. Since the devastation of the 2005 hurricane season, the neighborhood's Comiskey Park has remained gated off from the public and closed. The area's play spot and basketball goals have been removed, and the existing facility remains in litigation with its future questionable and in limbo. Many neighborhood residents do not have access to private transportation, which makes it important to have recreational facilities within walking distance of their homes. In June 2009, the MotherShip Foundation formed a partnership with Kaboom, a national play advocate, as a collaborative step toward building playgrounds and fighting obesity in New Orleans.
- Mid-City Volleyball Group --Mission: to create a safe public space in Mid-City New Orleans where residents can enjoy outdoor activity, reduce stress, and build community through the shared experience of playing beach volleyball. The proposed location for this project is on the Lafitte Corridor greenway, which is also one of the City of New Orleans's 17 targeted recovery zones. Currently, the only outdoor beach volleyball venue in New Orleans is at the site of the proposed 17 th Street Canal pumping station, so its future is uncertain due to a potential imminent domain action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. According to the Sunday, May 24, 2009 issue of the Times-Picayune, this existing venue expects approximately 4,000 participants in 2009. Thus, if the 17 th Street Canal pumping station takes precedence over this venue, then literally thousands of local volleyball players will be searching for an alternative location for outdoor beach volleyball. Thousands of volleyball players in New Orleans need an egalitarian and welcoming environment that will attract a wide range of people, including inner-city residents, who previously had little opportunity or incentive to participate in the demanding, yet rewarding, team sport of volleyball. Currently, there is no outdoor facility of this kind in the Mid-City area; this includes all of Planning District 4. The Mid-City Volleyball Group is currently collaborating with the Friends of Lafitte Corridor and the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization and also plans to partner with neighboring community groups to not only promote the sport among adults but also to encourage youth to sign up for volleyball clinics and tournaments as well.
- Jared Zeller
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