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How Burnell & Lillie Cotlon Started Makin' Groceries In The Lower 9th Ward

Lillie Cotlon, left, encouraged her son, Burnell, to quit his job at Family Dollar and start his own business in their neighborhood.
StoryCorps
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Lillie Cotlon, left, encouraged her son, Burnell, to quit his job at Family Dollar and start his own business in their neighborhood.

New Orleanians encountered one obstacle after another as they rebuilt their city after Katrina. Urban food access became a problem for many neighborhoods, especially those with low income.

Lower 9th Ward resident BurnellCotlan saw this problem troubling his community, so he built The Lower 9th Ward Market. His mother, Lillie, helped him along the way. 

As they continue to grow the store, Burnell and Lillie plan to install services that are unavailable in the Lower 9th Ward — like a laundromat and notary — on the second floor of their building.  This interview was recorded at StoryCorps’ mobile studio in New Orleans.

Thomas Walsh is an independent radio producer and audio engineer who lives in New Orleans. You'll see him around town recording music, podcasts, short films, live events and radio features. He's practically glued to his headphones. A movie geek to his core, he's seen every film listed on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Movies and would love to talk to you about them.

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