Just steps from the New Orleans Fair Grounds, staff of the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course, jockey Robby Albarado, New Orleans City Council member Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, and NOAHH volunteers gathered to raise walls on a brand-new home for Charles and Joylene Baker.
Randy Soth and Stacy Sims of the Fair Grounds (a Churchill Downs company), spoke about their House Sponsorship with New Orleans. The Fair Grounds collaborated with NOAHH to sponsor a home that would be in the contiguous neighborhood of the grounds, to help in the area’s revival. Now, the Fair Grounds' staff and visitors will be able to watch the building of the house progress in their piece of New Orleans.
Councilwoman Morrell praised the work of the homeowners, Habitat, and the Fair Grounds. Stating that “Homeownership is where the ‘new’ New Orleans is going,” the councilwoman told Charles and Joylene that they would be a pillar on the block. The work of Habitat, Morrell said, creates “safe homes in good communities with good neighbors looking out for each other.”
Charles and Joylene Baker are native New Orleanians; Charles was raised in the 7th Ward, and Joylene was raised in the Carrollton area. The Bakers have three grown children and four grandchildren. Charles is a first class shipfitter, and Joylene worked many years in health care, now working at an antique store. At the wall-raising ceremony, Joylene Baker spoke about how much the volunteers working on her new home meant to her: “I lost hope, but when I looked at them, they renewed my spirit.”
The walls go up!