Hollygrove New Orleans

WHY HOLLYGROVE?

BBZ works in the New Orleans’ Hollygrove neighborhood for the very reasons some might not. Compared to the rest of Orleans Parish, Hollygrove experiences high rates of poverty and crime. Nineteen percent of babies are born preterm, and families are concerned about asthma among young children.

But, it is also a neighborhood with many strengths. Many Hollygrove residents are motivated to find solutions for the problems faced by the community. So, in 2012, Hollygrove became one of BBZ’s three pilot zones, funded by an initial grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and additional funding from The Kresge Foundation.

ABOUT THE ZONE

BBZ Hollygrove is led by Healthy Start New Orleans (part of the City of New Orleans Health Department), and partner organizations that include Trinity Christian Community, New Orleans Council on Aging, and the Hollygrove Neighbors Neighborhood Association.

WHAT WE DO

In the first four years, BBZ Hollygrove has been able to:

  • Create early learning opportunities by bringing New Orleans Public Library’s YES program to Hollygrove.
  • Host events to encourage community engagement, including a Playstreets event, community baby shower, and Back to School celebration.
  • Improve educational opportunities by partnering with the YMCA to offer high school equivalency classes in the zone.
  • Reduce social isolation by hosting Moms support groups at a child development center in the zone.
  • Promote physical activity by working with the City’s FitNOLA Parks  program to bring exercise classes to a park within the zone

Our Evolving Impact

In 2013, residents of Hollygrove came together to protest the rerouting of a freight train through the neighborhood. Why a train? They protested because of its environmental impact today and over years to come. Using air and soil samples collected by BBZ in Hollygrove, they showed that rerouting the train through their neighborhood would be a detriment to the community’s health. And they won!

How does this help end infant mortality? Protecting the neighborhood from pollutants is part of Best Babies Zone’s holistic approach—linking environmental, economic, education and community services—to support healthier births.

As City Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “We have in Hollygrove greater incidence of low birth weight and many other medical conditions...to increase [the community’s] vulnerability by putting all this rail traffic through there is…an issue of social justice.”

“It’s the life course perspective, it’s looking at health from preconception, before a mother becomes pregnant,” said Hollygrove zone leader, Kristen Kirksey. “So when babies are born, they are born into a community that is healthier; the mother is healthier and the babies have what they need to thrive.”