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St. Rose de Lima Church Celebrates Grand Re-Opening, Reflects on History

October 6, 2018 New Orleans , LA

The St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church has finally reopened as a community center in New Orleans, and the renovated campus is poised to inject culture, social justice and new life into an area with a storied history of activism.

Enhanced Capital provided this transformative project with financing through Louisiana’s Historic Tax Credit program. Enhanced’s investment along with others was pivotal to the redevelopment of the former church on Bayou Road, which had been shuttered since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Today, the historic St. Rose de Lima Church campus has been transformed into a center for arts, education and entrepreneurship.

The renovated parish hall, built in 1915, now includes a performing arts space, and two other buildings on the campus provide space for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, along with office space and a community business incubator, according to recent reports in the New Orleans Advocate.

The project was spearheaded by a group of community members including Shawn Kennedy, 71, who became chair of Rose Community Development Corp. after her husband, renowned developer and visionary Hal Brown, died in 2013, along with local business owners and NewCorp Inc., a community lender supporting women and minority entrepreneurs. Rose Community Development Corp. worked with Alembic Community Development to redevelop the campus. “We wanted to bring amenities to the area; we wanted it to be amenities that are serving the families and people that have been here forever, as well as newcomers,” said Jonathan Leit, who directs Alembic Community Development’s New Orleans office, according to the article in the Advocate.

Accompanying the building is a history that’s rooted in social justice and activism and celebrated by the community. Locals are celebrating the opportunity to honor history while giving new life and purpose to the area. Said Aimee Hayes, artistic director of Southern Rep Theatre now located on the church campus: “To be part of the day-to-day of a neighborhood, this neighborhood, is a gift.”

To read more about the grand opening, click here.