NOAHH and St. Roch CDC Dedicate New Home for the Watkins Family
A warm and breezy Sunday afternoon brought together New Orleans Habitat and St. Roch Community Development Corporation to dedicate a home on Spain St. in St. Roch to Pastor J.B. Watkins, his wife Stephanie and their three children. The Watkins family graciously accepted symbolic house-warming gifts and the key to their brand new home from friends and members of their congregation as a sign of the devotion the Watkins are bringing to St. Roch.
“We are grateful that this reality will take place in the St. Roch neighborhood,” said Watkins. “Owning our own home in the community further strengthens our sense of commitment and responsibility to the people of St. Roch whom we have come to know and love.”
Seven years ago the idea of being New Orleans homeowners was a completely foreign concept to J.B. and Stephanie. They had been happily living in Memphis when residents of the St. Roch community had reached out to them about the possibility of moving to New Orleans to start up a new church in the community. After making multiple visits to the city, praying and seeking out counsel, they made the decision to uproot their lives and thus began the St. Roch Community Church.
Since their move in 2008, the Watkins family has tackled challenge after challenge, building up the presence of the St. Roch Community Church, integrating themselves into a completely new network of neighbors and friends, and beginning a family. Living on church-owned property since the beginning of their time in New Orleans, the Watkins finally decided that in light of their growing family and a desire to further invest in the St. Roch Community, homeownership was the next challenge on their plate. Through a partnership with St. Roch CDC, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, and a year’s worth of hard work and dedication, they can now call themselves proud homeowners.
The partnership between NOAHH and St. Roch CDC is part of ongoing efforts to bring stability and revitalization to the neighborhood through eliminating poverty housing and blight. J.B. Watkins wanted to live in the place that his work would most affect, helping to provide a home for community leadership in the heart of St. Roch. By rooting himself in his neighborhood, he will be better able to advocate for and anticipate the needs of his congregation and the people in the area.
“Our partnerships in St. Roch have helped us better address the specific needs of the neighborhood,” said Jim Pate, NOAHH Executive Director. “The resources brought to us by St. Roch CDC are a crucial part of ensuring we do our best to fight inadequate shelter and blight.”
Both NOAHH and St. Roch CDC are committed to the improvement of St. Roch and to the community-focused efforts that will continue to help St. Roch and all of New Orleans a better place to live.
“I’m grateful for our partnership with Habitat and their desire to think holistically and strategically about neighborhood infill redevelopment,” said Ben McLeish, Executive Director of St. Roch CDC. “Providing an opportunity for key leaders like Pastor J.B. and his family to be homeowners in St. Roch helps build on our commitment of seeing the community cared for physically and spiritually.”