In stricken Lower 9th Ward, grocery expands with help from volunteers

Bill Capo tells us how a small grocery store in the Lower 9th Ward is expanding to help residents in the area.

 

NEW ORLEANS -- At the devastated corner of Galvez and Caffin there's progress. The Lower 9th Ward Market is expanding, with help from volunteers from Marquette University.

"I came down here with a group called Mardi Gras From Marquette, a service group," said volunteer Karina Folliard. "And I honestly, I never understood the impact that Katrina left on this town." 

Lower 9th Ward Market owner Burnell Cotlon now takes phone orders to deliver groceries to customers who can't make it here.

"My phone is constantly ringing for deliveries," Cotlon said. "Some nights, my mom does it, but some nights I'm here until 11-11:30 at night, because people are constantly knocking on the door. I can't tell them no you can't get milk, or eggs, or bread, because people are trying to feed their families. This is the only place for them to shop."

"Actually we didn't have a store back here to get a drink or anything, so we definitely appreciate what they've brought back to the community," said customer Corey Simmons.

Colton is now adding a laundry. Ellen DeGeneres donated washing machines and dryers.

"Some guy came here with his dirty clothes on a bicycle in search of a laundromat," noted Cotlon. "That's an undue hardship. Somebody has to do something for the community."

Colton is not only expanding the store, he also bought the building behind it. His vision is an internet cafe in the Lower 9th Ward.

"Where people can come to relax, to chill, enjoy a couple of coffee, doughnuts, get on the laptop," explained Cotlon.

"Burnell is probably the most inspirational person I have ever met in my entire life," said Karina Folliard.

The store owner says he's not in the red, but also not making a profit and needs financial help, because there's so much more to do.

"My dream is just to make my community catch up with everybody else, even if it means I have to do it one building at a time, alone, I will," Cotlon vowed.

To help him continue his mission, call the Lower 9th Ward Market at 949-2712, or visit his fund raising webpage.

 


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