Lila Ellsworth’s Home Dedication

“I’m a hugger!” Lila declared as she embraced a volunteer.

She smiled and gently took the gift she was offered. The crowd clapped, and then the next volunteer stepped up. Months before, Lila Ellsworth recalled, she had been working hard on the home she now owned. Working on site, she refused to let herself be limited. For Lila, it was important to be part of every stage of construction. On a cool June afternoon, she told the crowd about her sweat equity hours, building others’ homes and her own. As each volunteer presented her with a ceremonial gift, she thanked them and hugged them, until the final gift, presented by site supervisor Alyson. Then, Lila stopped the ceremony to tell everyone about working with the woman who led the construction of her home. When the ceremony was over, she invited those gathered to tour her home.

Lila’s home is on one of the last lots on America Street (for now), making hers the 32nd Habitat home built on the street since 2007. Many of the In total, NOAHH has built over 100 homes in New Orleans East, one of the hardest hit areas of the city during Hurricane Katrina. For Lila, her home means a place where she can care for her grandchildren; for the neighborhood, her home is another part of a growing community that has transformed the street over the last decade. NOAHH continues to build in New Orleans East even as the lots on America Street have all been chosen. Two more homes are being built there, and more are under construction in surrounding communities.