METAIRIE, La. - Neighbors at the exclusive Holy Land on the Lake subdivision are opening their majestic homes and showing off exotic cars in an effort to save nearby land from development.
The Winter Home Tour is the main fundraiser.
“If you are interested and this is something you want to see for future generations of Metairie to enjoy a park, to enjoy a green space, then please, this is the time to join the cause,” said Hedy Kraft Sanderson, a member of the fundraiser committee.
Residents have enjoyed the green space of the Cenacle Retreat House for years. Now, the Archdiocese is planning to sell eight of the property’s 20 acres to help fund the retreat program.
But neighbors don't want to see the land developed, so they're trying to raise the funds to buy it themselves.
“We feel like we have a calling, that this is just the right thing to do, the right thing to do to protect what we look at and we say, ‘This is God's land,’” said Dr. Rob Ross, Metairie Sanctuary on the Lake board of directors.
Now neighbors are scrambling to raise $125,000 by the end of January. If they do that, the Archdiocese will grant them six months to come up with the rest of the asking price of $3.3 million.
“We want to be good neighbors. We're not trying to ostracize anyone, and we felt it was the right thing to do, to give the neighborhood association the opportunity to raise the money,” said Sarah McDonald, of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of Communications.
Ross is hopeful that if neighbors raise 20 percent of the total cost, grants and loans could help pay for the rest.
Neighbors have recently formed a non profit called Metairie Sanctuary on the Lake. They say developing the land could be detrimental to drainage and wildlife and they'd like to maintain it as a public green space.
“This is a community effort. This isn't just us that are surrounding it. This is for all of Metairie,” Sanderson said.
And neighbors are asking any supporters to spread the word and join the cause
The home tours also run next Saturday, Jan. 11, from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.