Little Known Black History Fact: The Rosenwald Center of New Orleans

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  • The Rosenwald Center of New Orleans was a recreational facility built in 1950 for Louisiana blacks. Though there were plenty of rec centers in the area, former Mayor Chep Morrison would not allow integration of the white-only facilities. The Rosenwald Center was built on the Lincoln playground and included a gym and outdoor pool.

    The Rosenwald Center was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The wrecked building was torn down last week. However, a new Rosenwald Center is being built and will be strong enough to use as a hurricane shelter. The $6.3 million project starts construction this summer. City officials hope that minority contractors will be hired for the construction.

    Restoration of the building, which is run through the New Orleans Recreational Department, was through the approval of FEMA in 2010. The building is owned by the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

    The new Rosenwald Center will be a 24,000-square-foot building with a gym, stage, activity rooms, pool, pool house and snack bar.

    In a concentrated effort to restore the New Orleans area post-Katrina and prior to the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII, about one thousand volunteers are expected to help renovate five local playgrounds, repair ten homes and provide other rebuilding services on February 2nd for the “Super Saturday of Service.”

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