Since Hurricane Katrina, Liza Cowan has been part of efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast. The idea of home and community and what they mean in someone’s life—belonging, safety, and peace—are things she has thought a lot about in her professional capacity.
The issue crossed over into her personal life recently, when she found herself distressed by her neighbors’ protests at a meeting about a proposed project to rehabilitate a blighted building into low-income apartments.
“One meeting attendee compared the proposed project to an atomic bomb, fearing its impact on the neighborhood,” Ms. Cowan wrote on The Second Line, a blog run by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, where she is a program officer. “The African-American project manager for the nonprofit housing developer was told by another member of the audience, ‘We don’t want more people like you living here.’”
Ms. Cowan worries what kind of city New Orleans will become if only the “loudest, least welcoming” voices are part of the conversation, and she urges people who want to see a more inclusive city to get involved.
“Will you speak up for our neighbors?” she writes. “Show up and speak up for the future of this city: a beautiful, diverse city where all residents find a place to call home.”