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CVS Pharmacy Breaks Ground In Lower 9th Ward

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Jesse Hardman
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CVS to get built in Lower 9th Ward

This coming week in New Orleans will be packed with press conferences and commemorations as the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s nears. The Lower 9th Ward, considered one of the city's most devastated neighborhoods a decade ago, is seeing more visitors than usual, including city workers and business investors.

Work crews are busy building building a new pathway in the neutral ground of Claiborne Avenue in the Lower 9th. And many streets are finally seeing massive potholes paved over.

Community members were treated to a press conference announcing a future CVS pharmacy will be built on a blighted corner of Claiborne.

"We need retail stores, we need more families. We had six schools, we’ve just got two. We need the ability to spend money in our community to hire people in our community. Local jobs in our local community."

Charles Duplessis is a Lower 9th resident of 30 years. He’s also the senior pastor at Mt Nebo Bible Baptist Church, which was destroyed, along with his house, by Katrina flooding.

Duplessis says he and other community leaders have been pushing non-stop for the city to invest in the Lower 9th. "I believe it took them 10 years because they didn’t see the big picture. Now they begin to see the big picture that our community is coming back. Now they have to be here on the ground level."

Duplessis says he’s hoping civic leaders continue to invest time and money in the Lower 9th after the Katrina anniversary.

As the new Coastal Reporter, Jesse Hardman will draw on 15 years of worldwide experience in radio, video and print journalism. As a radio reporter he has reported for NPR, BBC, and CBC, and for such familiar programs as Marketplace, This American Life, Latino USA, and Living on Earth. He served as a daily news reporter and news magazine producer for WBEZ in Chicago.