NEW IBERIA — Li'l Brooklyn Neighborhood Initiative is making an impact on not only houses along Henry Street in New Iberia, but down the block as well.
A month ago, Anne Darrah, the spearhead for the project and a retired graphic designer, began painting homes along Henry Street bright Caribbean colors to brighten up the neighborhood known to residents as "Lil Brooklyn".
A month later, Darrah and a crew of residents and community members begin repairing and repainting homes along Johnson Alley. One of those homes being a long-time resident of the area and a retired basketball coach, Melvenia Durall.
"Her house needed some work and we are so excited to be repainting it," says Darrah. "We have spent the last two days pressure washing it, and now we're scraping and priming it for it to be painted by the Kiwanis Club next weekend."
"I am enjoying it," says ninety-six year old Durall. "I was surprised by the crowd that showed up and the work that they're doing here."
Not only is Darrah and her crew repairing and repainting homes in the area, but they have planted a citrus garden in the lot next to Durall's home.
The citrus garden was originally planned to be tended by Steve Polk, a long-time resident of the area and neighbor who sadly passed away weeks ago due to a heart attack.
To honor Polk and his contribution to the project, Darrah plans to name the garden after him.
"We spoke with his mother and his aunt," says Darrah. "And we decided that we would dedicate the orchard to Steve and it will be called 'Steve's Orchard'."
The community members lending a helping hand tell me that the project goes far beyond beautifying the community. They believe it's about coming together, putting races aside, and working together towards one goal.
"Racism right now is really at an all time high in America," says Harold Alexander, a volunteer board member. "This initiative really addresses that people can get together no matter what color or what age...it can be done, and we're using this as an example that even during this time, communities and people of different colors can get together and do something big."
Darrah and her crew are asking for any donations of items such as old benches, flower pots and siding for repairs on the houses, as well as volunteers.
You can reach out to them with your donations or inquiries about signing up to help at their Facebook page.
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