Andry Street year One
“I have tried many times to grow flowers and other seasonal plants here in this cell and it just won’t work! The concrete and steel and particularly the small closed-in area stifles the growth of plant life and causes the plant to die long before it develops.”
Herman Wallace, excerpt from a letter to jackie sumell, February 1, 2006.
Our first burst of funding came from the Nathan Cummings Foundation which empowered us to lease two-lots in the Lower Ninth Ward of the New Orleans through the Growing Green Initative of The New Orleans Redevelopment Agency. This empowered us to take the legacy of Herman Wallace, transform it into dreams of jackie sumell into, renderings by Landscape Architect Abi Phillips, into a park at 2600 Andry Street.
The first year was hard.
Gardening is used as a metaphor for life for a reason- a lot of ups and downs and patience required. The first year was tough! We dug into ground that hadn’t been used in a decade (the site was a pre-katrina garden according to our neighbors!). We had to install a watering system, remediate, make a lot of mistakes and begin to try out different versions of Solitary Garden beds.
Andry Street becomes a studio.
How do you inspire folks to dream beyond what they know?! To not only illustrate what is wrong, but what is possible?! There were many iterations of Solitary Garden Beds- from wood and rope, to cement and steel to our current process of Revolutionary Mortar. Thanks to our funders we had the generosity of time to try many different things. In that way for the first 2-years Andry St. functioned like a studio, with ideas in process. To call in the prophet Rhianna, “Never a mistake, always a lesson.”