FILM SHARE: The Unbelievers (6:03 mins)
In the wake of Katrina, New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward was one of the few neighborhoods where relief came slowly. Less than 25% of its pre-Katrina population has returned and many houses have been abandoned or mowed down. As a result, the USDA officially listed the neighborhood as a “food desert”, defined as urban areas without access to affordable food in a five-mile radius.
Burnell Cotlon decided he’d open up his own shops and restore the community one small business at a time. He learned carpentry and electrical work through YouTube videos so that he could build all his operations on a budget. To date, he’s opened a grocery store, a market, a barbershop, and a laundromat all in an effort to centralize and revitalize pride for the Ward.