Actor Wendell Pierce trumpets activism in the Big Easy

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenAugust 23, 2010

Five years ago, Hurricane Katrina crashed into the Gulf coast, destroying so much life, history and infrastructure that it became the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

Along with a deeper appreciation of the culture and locales that stretch from central Florida to the Texas coast, determined men and women have emerged from the hurricane's dark, crude wake.

New Orleans native Wendell Pierce is one of them.

Actor Wendell Pierce at Plato's in Aspen.
Troy Hooper

The actor, best known as Detective Bunk Moreland in David Simon's HBO series The Wire, became engaged in post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in 2008, focusing on the neighborhood he grew up in, Pontchartrain Park. He helped form Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corporation, which is a nonprofit dedicated to the neighborhood that sprung up in the 1950s, during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation in Louisiana. It is one of the first suburbs in the United States built specifically for middle‐ and upper‐income African Americans. Few of the original homeowners in Pontchartrain Park ever left, so the neighborhood has a high percentage of elderly residents. Because of their age, the neighborhood has been slow to recover from Katrina.

Real Aspen caught up with Pierce — who also starred in another Simon series on HBO, Treme, which portrays the lives of residents recovering from the hurricane — at Plato's restaurant last month with Friends of New Orleans and the Aspen Institute.

Real Aspen: Why did you decide to get involved in post-Katrina efforts?

Wendell Pierce: I grew up in Pontchartrain Park, a historic African American neighborhood in New Orleans that started in the post World War II era. It was a very stable neighborhood — with homes surrounded by a golf course, a ballpark, higher education, multi-dominational churches — so it was really a self-contained, self-sustaining neighborhood. After Katrina it had the second lowest rate of return (of residents). I was wondering why. I couldn't understand. Then I realized it was because our parents who created this neighborhood in the 1950s were now in their 70s and 80s so they didn't have the wherewithal to do it. I realized it was on me and my generation to step up to the plate and to actually reconstitute this great neighborhood. That's when I put out a call to action and got involved. And then I started realizing that Pontchartrain park was an incubator for great talent in every field of endeavor: politics, education, engineering, construction business art an di said we have it within our ranks to do it within our selves. So I put out a call to action and people answered it and we put together our own development corporation.

Real Aspen: Tell us about your corporation and the current state of affairs in New Orleans.

Wendell Pierce: New Orleans is coming back. The people have put together great programs to get it back on its feet. There's been a rejuvenation because the people are so resilient. Where we still have conflict is taking that resiliency, taking that energy and focusing it and programming it out where it can be replicated in programs of reconstruction and redevelopment. That's what we've done with Pontchartrain Park. We put together a platform where we can do something of scale — not just one, two, three, four, houses, but we hope to do 500 houses — to redevelop our neighborhood, and not only our neighborhood but the city. We're in the process of making sure the public and private sectors come together to make sure programs are put together to actually implement and take advantage of the resiliency and the energy that's a groundswell coming from the people in the neighborhoods.

Real Aspen: President Bush's administration was widely criticized for its post-Katrina efforts. How do you think the new administration is doing?

Wendell Pierce: The Obama administration has been great. It has cleared a lot of hurdles that people were concerned about, a lot of things that were in arbitration about whether or not FEMA dollars could be used for particular projects. We actually had a situation where there was money to be used for redevelopment but not for new home development in a disaster zone where homes had been destroyed. So that made no sense. They've been very good about taking out those hurdles. A lot of times people want to get into the discussion of where the government failed, and where other people failed, but in our opinion it's a waste of time, energy and effort to go into the pathology of what didn't work. We're bringing solutions to the table — solutions we know will work and can be implemented.

Real Aspen: Is the recent oil spill in the Gulf impacting Pontchartrain Park?

Wendell Pierce: It is affecting our neighborhood. There's a domino effect. The economy of south Louisiana is all connected. There are people who are in direct, ancillary and secondary economic positions that are affected by it. We're also affected by it in a very positive way too. Because what we anticipated is alternative fuel initiatives and all of our homes include geothermal energy and solar energy. So while we brought solutions to the table for Katrina, it can now be looked at as bringing solutions to the oil spill too. To ween ourselves off of fossil fuels, we're implementing not some prototype homes, not some ideas, but actual livable homes with solar and geothermal. We're going to be one of the greenest communities in the country if not the world. The other suggestion I have and other people have is we can be like Brazil. Our cash crop is sugar cane. All those sugar refineries could be sugar/ethanol refineries so we could take the burden off the sea and exposing risk to the waterways and coastal areas and actually utilize the very cash crop we have there, sugar cane, and let it still be a petroleum producing state. I hope this is a wakeup call that allows people to see those opportunities.

Real Aspen: What are your thoughts on Katrina's five-year anniversary?

Wendell Pierce: The anniversary is a time to reflect on the people we lost. Their loss would be in vain if we don't see this as an opportunity to always remind ourselves that we can improve the city and come to a different place. Five years out has been a marked place where you can see how far we've come. It's a testament to our resilience, it's a testament to the intellect that has pulled together to make sure that we progress in a positive way and reproduce and repopulate our neighborhoods in a smart and positive way. I'm glad to be a part of it. That's what I issued as a mission statement to our team: We don't want to just bring back homes and bring back people but we want to bring them back in a better place. We need 21st century ideas. There's no need for us in 2010 to not be realizing new energy opportunities. Geothermal, solar, alternative-fuel energy has been in existence a long time. It is something we should incorporate immediately, not over decades and years. Our homes were put up in these past couple of months and we went from a neighborhood that was created in the 1950s, on fossil fuel, and overnight became one of the greenest initiatives in the country so it's something we shouldn't wait on. If not now, when? If not us, who?


comments: 46 Comments on "Actor Wendell Pierce trumpets activism in the Big Easy"

lepetiw688 – May 05, 2022, at 7:57 a.m.

Thank you for another wonderful article. Wherever else could anyone get that kind of info in this type of an ideal way of writing? I’ve got a presentation next week, and Im round the search for these info. satta matta

lepetiw688 – May 06, 2022, at 6:46 a.m.

There are many fascinating time limits in this article however I don’t determine if I see all of them center to heart. There is certainly some validity however Let me take hold opinion until I consider it further. Good article , thanks and that we want extra! Put into FeedBurner as properly https://www.MM88IT.com

lepetiw688 – May 06, 2022, at 12:39 p.m.

I love to visit your web-blog, the themes are nice.“~;~ https://Hubhengjing888.com.com

lepetiw688 – May 06, 2022, at 3:52 p.m.

What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & help other users like its helped me. Great job. http://www.Ibizaclub88.com Purely to follow up on the up-date of this matter on your web page and want to let you know simply how much I appreciated the time you took to generate this beneficial post. Inside the post, you actually spoke regarding how to definitely handle this matter with all convenience. It would be my pleasure to get some more suggestions from your website and come up to offer other folks what I have benefited from you. Thank you for your usual terrific effort. http://www.Ibiza789.com

lepetiw688 – May 07, 2022, at 1:49 p.m.

Very pleasant site, I just came to know of it yesterday afternoon. Bookmarked this and also stumbled upon it. Thanks a lot,You had some pleasant ideas in the story, I enjoyed reading it. 안전놀이터

lepetiw688 – May 08, 2022, at 7:38 a.m.

I always visit new blog everyday and i found your blog.’”‘*; Tono Visa a Turkey i runga ipurangi

lepetiw688 – May 09, 2022, at 6:41 a.m.

I observe there is plenty of spam on this weblog. Do you need assist cleaning them up? I might help among classes! 스웨디시

lepetiw688 – May 09, 2022, at 8:53 a.m.

Hello there. I discovered your website by way of Google at the same time as searching for a similar matter, your website got here up. It appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back later. 스웨디시 사이트

lepetiw688 – May 09, 2022, at 2:05 p.m.

Over 7.9 million refugees have been forced to flee Ukraine. The IRC is on the ground in Poland supporting displaced children and families with vital supplies. Your gift will help us provide food, medical care and emergency support services to families whose lives are shattered by conflict in countries like Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen. unicef ukraine

lepetiw688 – May 10, 2022, at 6:34 a.m.

I am usually to blogging and i genuinely appreciate your site content. This content has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your internet site and keep checking choosing info. baywind residences condo

lepetiw688 – May 10, 2022, at 11:54 a.m.

Individuals are often shedding desire or even squandering the occasion by means of getting a best condo they will have because they lack knowledge or ideas on where to locate these types of qualities immediately. https://hokkfinancememetoken.blogspot.com

lepetiw688 – May 11, 2022, at 5:56 a.m.

This is really exciting, You’re a tremendously trained article author. I’ve joined with your feed and also anticipate enjoying the awesome write-ups. Incidentally, I’ve got shared the blog throughout our social networking sites. Visa de Turquía en línea

lepetiw688 – May 14, 2022, at 7:28 a.m.

Outstanding brief which post helped me alot. Give you thanks I looking for your details?–. canada visum

lepetiw688 – May 16, 2022, at 4:18 a.m.

you have a excellent weblog here! do you need to cook some invite posts in my blog? USA Visa

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 4:15 a.m.

i have some small garden of herbs at home, i use them for baking foods and as herbal medicines~ เกมส์ สล็อต

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 4:34 a.m.

Comfortabl y, the post is really the sweetest on that laudable topic. I fit in with your conclusions and also will thirstily look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks definitely will not simply just be sufficient, for the fantastic clarity in your writing. I will promptly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any kind of updates. Pleasant work and much success in your business efforts! หวยหุ้น

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 4:57 a.m.

hello!,I love your writing very a lot! share we be in contact extra approximately your article on AOL? I need an expert on this space to unravel my problem. May be that’s you! Taking a look forward to look you. เกม jdb

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 5:38 a.m.

like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e ซื้อหวย

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 6:04 a.m.

I admire the valuable information and facts you offer inside your posts. Ill bookmark your weblog and also have my children examine up right here typically. Im fairly positive theyll discover a lot of new things here than anybody else! Ufabet บนมือถือ

lepetiw688 – May 18, 2022, at 11:37 a.m.

This is my new I’ve visited here. I discovered plenty of interesting information inside your blog. In the a lot of comments within your posts, I suppose Im not alone! continue the impressive work. 신용카드현금화

lepetiw688 – May 19, 2022, at 6:24 a.m.

I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. Canada Visa Application Online

lepetiw688 – May 21, 2022, at 6:09 a.m.

Can I just say what a relief to seek out someone who actually is aware of what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know the way to bring an issue to light and make it important. More folks have to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you positively have the gift. Full body electrolysis

lepetiw688 – May 21, 2022, at 11:45 a.m.

very nice post, i surely really like this amazing site, persist with it app in pc

lepetiw688 – May 24, 2022, at 5:55 a.m.

After spending several hours online at last We have located an individual that seriously does know what they’re preaching about appreciate it a whole lot fantastic posting 먹튀폴리스

lepetiw688 – May 24, 2022, at 7:49 a.m.

Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! American lifeguard Florida

lepetiw688 – May 24, 2022, at 1:04 p.m.

you have a wonderful weblog here! do you wish to have the invite posts on my own blog? אשרת תייר בקנדה

lepetiw688 – May 25, 2022, at 6:05 a.m.

dog grooming is the specialty of my sister, she really loves grooming every dog in our house;; 안전놀이터

lepetiw688 – May 25, 2022, at 11:55 a.m.

Fashion Courses Online… [...]here are some links to sites that we link to because we think they are worth visiting[...]… 먹튀폴리스

lepetiw688 – May 26, 2022, at 4:40 a.m.

Great website you got here! Yoo man great reads, post some more! Im gon come back so better have updated 마사지구직

lepetiw688 – May 26, 2022, at 1:42 p.m.

I’m extremely impressed with your writing talents as smartly with the format for your blog. Is this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it is rare to look a great blog like this one these days. 꽁머니 2만원

lepetiw688 – May 27, 2022, at 8:05 a.m.

i love to watch movies that made it to the box office, they are usually great movies with good story.. 꽁조아

lepetiw688 – May 28, 2022, at 7:28 a.m.

you have got a great blog here! do you want to cook some invite posts in this little weblog? l'équipe Visa Américain

lepetiw688 – May 28, 2022, at 8:37 a.m.

I can’t really help but admire your blog. your blog is so adorable and nice .    다음드

lepetiw688 – May 29, 2022, at 5:33 a.m.

It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing. แทงบาคาร่

lepetiw688 – May 30, 2022, at 12:11 p.m.

Hola i would really love to subscribe and read your blog posts ,! indian visa for bolivian citizens

lepetiw688 – June 02, 2022, at 5:54 a.m.

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I believed this submit used to be great. I don’t recognize who you might be but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger should you are not already Cheers! 먹튀사이트

lepetiw688 – June 02, 2022, at 8:16 a.m.

when we do our home renovation, we always look for new home styles and designs on the internet for some great ideas. 먹튀폴리스 이동

lepetiw688 – June 04, 2022, at 4:37 a.m.

you have a excellent weblog here! do you need to cook some invite posts in my blog? INDIA VISA APPLICATION

lepetiw688 – June 04, 2022, at 8:48 a.m.

I will right away clutch your rss as I can’t find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks. Slot Online

lepetiw688 – June 05, 2022, at 3:16 a.m.

I am curious to find out what blog system you are using? Im having some small security problems with my latest website and Id like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions? Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess Ill just sum it up what I wrote and say, Im thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but Im still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers? Id definitely appreciate it. Pochon Plastique

lepetiw688 – June 05, 2022, at 5:46 a.m.

Countless online communities include singles organizations of which attempt enjoyment boca raton breast lift pursuits mutually, and this also is actually wonderful substitute adult dating technique. Activities for instance pedaling, bowling, curling, motion picture a short time, dance and also humor golf equipment are sorted because of the singles party, but it lets an evenly-distributed group of contributors to acquire an exciting along with unconventional night time. By using concentration don that exercise once more rather then building a amorous association, it will take a lot of strain over singles as well as attractions manifest far more normally inside this type of setting up. Indien visumsøgning

lepetiw688 – June 08, 2022, at 4:09 a.m.

Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way! 꽁머니 2만원

lepetiw688 – June 11, 2022, at 10:44 a.m.

I’m not in a position to view this website correctly on saffari I think there’s a drawback 꽁머니홍보

lepetiw688 – June 12, 2022, at 8:37 a.m.

Rrn between i in addition my hubby toy trucks possessed very much more Ipods through unlike what Possible count, this sort of Sansas, iRivers, ipods on the market (basic & put your hands on), specific Ibiza Rhapsody, etcetera. Nonetheless ,, of late Legal herbal buds been feeling relaxed to just one brand of pros. Reason why? In view that I got willing to find out how well-designed additionally activities to make ones underappreciated (and furthermore far and wide mocked) Zunes have become. 먹튀검증

lepetiw688 – June 20, 2022, at 6:36 a.m.

You made some tight points there. I looked on the web for the difficulty and found most individuals will approve together with your blog. รับติดตั้งกล้องวงจรปิด ราชบุรี

lepetiw688 – June 21, 2022, at 5:29 a.m.

I simply could not go away your web site before suggesting that I extremely loved the usual information an individual provide for your guests? Is gonna be back steadily to check out new posts strongest k2 spray for sale

COMMENT
Comment Form Info  Comment Information
Real Aspen encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Logged in email is required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any third-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

To make a comment, please log in or create an account. This helps us prevent spam and other malicious attacks.

Please log in to comment

 

Create a user account to comment

Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
More Weather Reports
VIDEO GALLERY
Vail powder day snow snake
Airing it out at Crested Butte
Feb. 17, 2011 Surprise 14 inches of Fresh Powder