LOWER NINTH WARD is a neighborhood of the city of
New Orleans ,
United States . As the name implies, it is part of the
Ninth Ward of
New Orleans . The
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward is often thought of
as the entire area within
New Orleans downriver of the Industrial
Canal ; however, the City Planning Commission divides this area into
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward and Holy Cross neighborhoods.
The term "Lower" refers to its location farther towards the mouth of
Mississippi River , downriver, "down" or "below" the rest of the
city. The 9th Ward , like all wards of
New Orleans , is a voting
district . The 9th Ward was added as a voting district in 1852. The
Lower 9th Ward is composed of Ward 9 Districts 1, 2, 4, and 7 which
make up the Holy Cross Area and Ward 9 Districts 3, 5, 6, and 8.
Higher voting district numbers in the 9th Ward (8-27) are on the
upriver side of the Industrial Canal. The area came to international
attention for its devastation in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina in
* 1 Geography
* 1.1 Adjacent neighborhoods
* 1.2 Boundaries
* 2 History
* 2.3 Recovery efforts
* 3 Demographics
* 4 Notable buildings
* 5 Notable people
* 6 Education
* 7 Representation in other media
* 8 See also
* 9 External links
* 10 References
Excluding the industrial and swamp areas north of the
Florida Canal ,
the neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward is about 1.25 mi (2.01 km) from
east to west and 2 mi (3.2 km) from north to south. Three major
avenues cross the developed portion of the neighborhood, each with
bridges over the
Industrial Canal . Closest to the River is ST. CLAUDE
AVENUE; about midway through the neighborhood is
Claiborne Avenue ;
Florida Avenue crosses at the northern edge of the historically
populated portion of the Lower 9th. Most major businesses serving the
neighborhood are located on St. Claude or Claiborne, although a
smattering of additional neighborhood business is located throughout
the area. While the first two of these three avenues continue into St.
Bernard Parish ; a continuation of Florida Avenue through and beyond
the parish line has been repeatedly proposed but at present does not
* Viavant/Venetian Isles (north)
* St. Bernard Parish (east)
* Holy Cross (south)
* Bywater (west)
Aerial view of part of the Lower 9th, c. 1990s. Holy Cross
School at lower right.
The City Planning Commission defines the boundaries of Lower Ninth
Ward as these streets: Florida Avenue, St. Bernard Parish, St. Claude
Avenue and the Industrial Canal.
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward is also commonly used to describe a slightly
larger area. This area borders the
Mississippi River to the South and
St. Bernard Parish to the east. To the west is the
Industrial Canal ,
across which is the Bywater section of New Orleans. The northern or
inland boundary is often given as the
Florida Canal with Florida
Avenue, a levee, and railroad tracks running beside it. Alternatively,
the industrial area north of Florida Avenue is sometimes included as
being part of the Lower 9th Ward, extending the boundary to the
southern edge of the
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway .
Jackson Barracks complex, c. 1935. This one was
demolished by the WPA that decade.
Louisiana 's colonial era, this area was developed as sugar cane
plantations , with narrow lots extending back from the river frontage
that provided the transportation and shipping routes. At the start of
the 19th century, the portion closer to the river was developed for
residential use, at the same time as the Bywater area.
In 1834 the
United States Army established the
Jackson Barracks here.
As late as the 1870s, the area behind St. Claude was still mostly
small farms with scattered residences. The area on the "woods" (away
from the river) side of Claiborne was mostly undeveloped cypress swamp
What became the Lower 9th Ward did not become distinct from the
upriver parts of the 9th Ward until the start of the 1920s, when the
Industrial Canal was dredged. This development bisected the 9th Ward.
At this time, people started referring to the area "above" (upriver)
from the Canal as the "Upper" 9th Ward, and this area as the "Lower".
The section on the River side of Saint Claude Avenue, which developed
as an urban area first, is sometimes called the "Holy Cross
Neighborhood" for Holy Cross High School , the large
Catholic school .
For many years, it attracted students not only from the Lower 9th but
from throughout the city.
Construction of the
Industrial Canal led to development of the land
farther back along the Canal; it provided steady work for labor in the
area. As shipping became containerized in the later 20th century,
however, demand for labor declined, with negative economic
consequences for the neighborhood. Some people left to find work in
other areas; others struggled with lower-paying jobs.
Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans. A levee on the Industrial
Canal collapsed, and much of the Lower 9th Ward was flooded. President
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson visited the devastated flooded area shortly after
the storm, and ordered aid for the storm victims.
At the end of August 2005,
Hurricane Katrina made landfall just east
of New Orleans, the fifth deadliest hurricane and the costliest
natural disaster in the history of the United States. Multiple
breaches in the levees of at least four canals resulted in
catastrophic flooding in a majority of the city; see Effect of
Hurricane Katrina on
New Orleans . Ruins of residential area in
the Lower 9th Ward, with
ING 4727 barge in the background
Nowhere in the city was the devastation greater than in the Lower 9th
Ward, especially the portion from
Claiborne Avenue back. This was
largely due to the storm surge generated in the
Mississippi River Gulf
Outlet , a deep-draft shipping channel built by the Army Corps of
Engineers in the late 1950s. The construction destroyed tens of
thousands of acres of protective coastal wetlands that once acted as a
storm surge buffer for the community.
Storm surge flood waters appear to have poured into the Lower Ninth
Ward from at least three sources. To the east, water flowed in from
Saint Bernard Parish , while to the west the
Industrial Canal suffered
two major breaches: one a block in from Florida Avenue, the second
back from Claiborne Avenue. The force of the water did not only flood
homes, but smashed or knocked many off their foundations. A large
ING 4727 (owned by the
Ingram Barge Company ), was swept by
flood waters into the neighborhood through the breach near Claiborne
Avenue, leveling homes beneath it. The storm surge was so great that
even the highest portions of the Lower 9th were flooded; Holy Cross
School, which had served as a dry refuge after
Hurricane Betsy , was
inundated. The foot of the
Mississippi River levee, the area's highest
point, took on some 2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) of water.
The Lower 9th Ward was flooded again by
Hurricane Rita a month later
In December 2005,
Common Ground Collective volunteers gutted the
first house in the area. Volunteers and residents began gutting other
houses in the community. Soon after, the Common Ground Collective
opened the first distribution center in the area, in order to provide
returning residents with water, food and other necessities. No stores
had yet re-opened in the area.
Due to the great devastation and lack of population and services, the
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward was the last area of the city still under a curfew
half a year after the disaster. Officially, residents were allowed in
during daylight hours to look, salvage possessions, and leave,
although some few had already done extensive work gutting and
repairing their damaged homes in preparation to move back. By January
2006, the widespread damages and difficulties in restoring basic
utilities and city services still prevented the official reopening of
the Lower 9th Ward to residents who wished to return to live.
The most severely damaged section of the Ward is the lower elevation
section, north of Claiborne Avenue. A Bring Back New Orleans
Commission preliminary report suggested making this area in whole or
part into park space because of the high risk of future flooding. Most
Lower 9th Ward residents have strongly objected to this proposal, but
outsiders worry about the high risk of future flooding in the area.
In March 2006 a group of residents and Common Ground Collective
volunteers broke into Martin Luther King Elementary School to begin
cleanup efforts. Not long after, the state school officials agreed to
repair the school. The school has subsequently become a Recovery
School District charter school and is running at full capacity. It is
a rarity in that it has no management company. The school is operated
by the faculty and administration. When asked about it, Dr. Hicks, the
school's long-time principal said, "We didn't have a management
company before and we don't need one now."
As of late 2006, a small number of local businesses in the area
reopened, and residents began to return (many are living in FEMA
trailers as they try to rebuild). But, much of the area was still
little-populated and in ruined condition. Work crews continued to
remove debris and demolish unrepairable houses daily, but hundreds if
not thousands were vacant and gutted. Many more buildings have hardly
been touched since the waters were drained, and ruined possessions are
inside severely damaged buildings. Damaged photo in flood silt .
Remains of ruined possessions were common on the streets of the Lower
9th Ward for months after the floodwaters had been drained.
In 2006, Mayor
Ray Nagin threatened to use his powers of eminent
domain to seize vacant, severely damaged properties in all of New
Orleans that had not been gutted or scheduled to be gutted before
early 2007. Such blighted properties had been creating serious
problems for returned New Orleanians, including infestations of rats
and other vermin. Similar actions to seize abandoned blighted property
are in effect in other
Louisiana parishes, as well as in Mississippi
counties affected by the storm. However, as hundreds of thousands of
locals were still waiting for promised insurance or
Road Home money,
many of the poor lacked resources to work on their houses. The
neighborhood had few stores and only a handful of schools reopened.
On December 3, 2007,
Make It Right Foundation , founded by the actor
Brad Pitt , committed to rebuild 150 houses in the Lower Ninth Ward.
The houses are sustainable , energy-efficient and safe. Make It Right
homes were designed by award-winning architects from
New Orleans and
around the world, including
Frank Gehry ,
Shigeru Ban , Hitoshi Abe
Thom Mayne . Said Pitt: “I walked into it blind, just thinking,
‘People need homes; I know people who make great homes.'"
In the spring of 2008,
Build Now , a local, non-profit homebuilder,
began working to bring
New Orleans families back home. It constructed
site-built, stilt houses on hurricane-damaged lots. The homes reflect
the style and quality of traditional
New Orleans architecture but are
built above potential flood waters.
Build Now is in the process of
bringing more than a dozen
New Orleans families back home; nine houses
are currently under construction in the Upper and Lower Ninth Ward
areas, Lakeview and Gentilly. The organization has moved three New
Orleans families back home.
As of March 2009, hundreds of houses have been rebuilt, and dozens of
new homes have been constructed. Residents are returning home.
Volunteers continue to come to the area en masse, working for dozens
of organizations including Common Ground Relief, formerly Common
Ground Collective; and lowernine.org , a grassroots organization that
coordinates volunteers' and residents' efforts in rebuilding homes in
the Lower Ninth Ward. As of October 2017, lowernine.org has fully
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward homes, and completed repair and renovation
projects on over 250 more properties.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to HURRICANE KATRINA AFTERMATH
IN THE LOWER 9TH WARD, NEW ORLEANS .
Residents and volunteers are striving to make the
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward a
sustainable community . They are working to restore the local wetlands
. It is widely believed that were it not for the extensive canal
dredging to support commercial development, resulting in subsequent
wetlands subsidence, the
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward would not have suffered such
extensive flooding during Katrina.
In March 2012, the New York Times reported that
"he neighborhood has become a dumping ground for many kinds of
unwanted things," and "it no longer resembled an urban, or even
suburban environment. Where once there stood orderly rows of
single-family homes with driveways and front yards, there was jungle."
As of December 2015, the
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward still has many empty lots
and vacant heavily damaged houses.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,008 people, 4,820 households,
and 3,467 families residing in the neighborhood. The population
density was 9,731 /mi² (3,730 /km²).
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,842 people, 1,061 households,
and 683 families residing in the neighborhood.
The Doullut "steamboat houses" from the start of the 20th
century are landmarks of the Holy Cross section of the Lower 9th Ward
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward is home to the
Jackson Barracks . The barracks
now serve as headquarters for the
Louisiana National Guard . The
complex had an extensive military museum in the old powder magazine
and in a new annex, with a large collection of military items from
every American war. The 2000 NRA Shooting Sports Camp and Coaches
School was held at
Jackson Barracks from June 28 – July 2, 2000.
The Doullut steamboat houses are located on either side of Egania
Street at numbers 400 and 503. The first house, closer to the river,
was built in 1905 by Captain Milton P. Doullut, a riverboat pilot, as
his home. The second was built in 1913 for his son Paul Doullut. In
1977 both houses were designated historic landmarks. The houses have
two notable design influences, the first being the steamboats of the
period, the second being the Japanese exhibit at the 1904 World\'s
St. Louis (
Louisiana Purchase Exposition ). Notably, Mary
Doullut (wife of Milton) was also a river boat captain, who worked on
the river for over 30 years; she is believed to be the first woman to
have held a Mississippi riverboat pilot's license.
* Pat Barry , kickboxer and mixed martial artist
Fats Domino , musician-singer-songwriter
Marshall Faulk , NFL star
Kalamu ya Salaam , poet and author
* Magic , rapper and musician
Fred Luter , Baptist minister, elected president of the Southern
Baptist Convention in 2012
Robert Pack ,
New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach, former NBA
guard, former University of Southern Cal star.
Eldridge Recasner , former NBA player.
Dawn Richard , singer-songwriter, actress and animator
The former Holy Cross High School
New Orleans Public Schools operates district public schools, while
Recovery School District oversees charter schools.
Dr. King Charter School (K-12) is located in the Lower 9th.
Alfred Lawless High School was the only public high school that
operated in the Lower 9th until
Hurricane Katrina affected New Orleans
in August 2005. The previous Holy Cross High School campus was located
in the Lower Ninth Ward. In August 2007 students from Carver High
School and Marshall Middle School began studying at temporary trailers
on the site of Holy Cross. In September of that year the students were
to move to another set of trailers in the original Carver/Marshall
campus in the Desire Area .
REPRESENTATION IN OTHER MEDIA
* The 1994 film adaptation of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire
Brad Pitt and
Tom Cruise , was filmed along sections of the
Mississippi River embankment and inside the Jackson Barracks.
When the Levees Broke
When the Levees Broke (2006), a documentary about the Katrina
disaster directed by
Spike Lee , was produced and shown on
HBO . The
film covered damage in the
Lower Ninth Ward
Lower Ninth Ward and other areas of the
New Orleans portal
New Orleans neighborhoods
* New Orleans,
* Wards of
* Oil Storm