Following Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 floods, community leaders in the 7th Ward and Treme identified a need for spaces that supported New Orleans’ cultural arts and burgeoning education sector. This planning work coalesced into the vision of creating a campus specifically to advance these goals at the vacant and deconsecrated St. Rose de Lima church campus on Bayou Road and Columbus Street, and a nonprofit, Rose Community Development Corporation, was born. Bayou Road was originally an historic Native American trail between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, and is now home to a corridor of African-American owned and run small businesses including restaurants and cafes, an art gallery, Caribbean club, beauty salons and others.
Under the leadership of Hal Brown, Vera Warren Williams, Vaughn Fauria, Jeanne Nathan, Robert Tannen and others, Rose CDC secured site control of the St. Rose de Lima campus from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, including the historic church and two adjacent parochial school buildings. Following Hal Brown’s passing in 2013, Rose CDC sought additional capacity and brought on Alembic in 2014 through a competitive process to help realize the original project objectives of supporting the arts, education, entrepreneurship and community. Rose CDC and Alembic formed a joint venture partnership, purchased the St Rose campus from the Archdiocese in summer 2016, closed on financing and started construction in July 2017, and completed construction in August 2018.
The 1915 church building on Bayou Road is now home to the Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice (ACC), a multi-disciplinary, community-centered arts, cultural and organic intellectual center, and the only Black-led performing arts center in Louisiana.
The 1938 schoolhouse at 2533 Columbus has been transformed into the Parish Hall offices, a shared workspace highlighted by several strong nonprofit organizations, including KID smART, NewCorp, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative. Fund 17, a nonprofit organization that provides tailored business development and capital access assistance to community entrepreneurs and business owners in New Orleans, is the programmatic anchor for Parish Hall. Fund 17 operates a Community Business Incubator that combines training and mentorship programs, capital access, and accessible space and equipment for entrepreneurs in the 7th Ward and surrounding. In addition to conventional office suites, Parish Hall offers 2-3 person private offices, semi-private workstations and open desks in a shared facility with conference and meeting rooms, free wifi, printing and copying, a kitchen, and flexible leasing.
The 1925 schoolhouse at 2539 Columbus will be home to the Waldorf School of New Orleans, a nonprofit school operating in New Orleans for more than 15 years that integrates academics with the arts, culture and community from nursery through 8th grade.
Total development costs are $11.8 million and include New Markets Tax Credits, federal and State of Louisiana Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, loans from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and State of Louisiana Office of Community Development, loans from Reinvestment Fund, funding from the City of New Orleans Economic Development Fund, and brownfields redevelopment funding from the Regional Planning Commission and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.