Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Project Homecoming February Field Report_Sara Skjerli

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

I celebrated the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. this year in the beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi! An impromptu road trip led my friends and I to explore this beautiful coastal town and enjoy all Biloxi had to offer!

One of the most interesting and humbling moments of this trip was when we visited the Katrina Memorial. Working in New Orleans it is easy to forget that so many other communities were also left devastated by the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Biloxi has a beautiful memorial that pays tribute to all of the surrounding communities and families affected by the storm.

Working in the affordable housing industry, I see first hand the struggle of finding and keeping affordable, safe, storm resistant housing in the greater New Orleans community. Recently I started working on identifying properties in historic districts of the city that we might be able to use for our new affordable rental program! Identifying blighted homes in both national tax credit zones and state tax credit zones and tracking down their owners has been a very rewarding challenge!

According to the city of New Orleans,  blighted home is a home that is “any dwelling, structure or premise that is declared a public nuisance…” As of 2010, the city of New Orleans had over 40,000 blighted properties! The www.nola.gov reports that New Orleans has one of the highest percentage of blight in the country!

blight home

Example of blighted homes in New Orleans


To close out my blog, I want to report that my first Mardi Gras was s success! We made it through without anything too crazy happening (besides the littel Donald trump loosing his toupee!)! Unfortunately I did not catch a coveted Muses shoe, or a Nyx purse… but my roommate did bring home an entire ‘krewe’ of coconuts from Zulu! And I wore my first ever fanny pack… I think I am a fan. In a ‘coconut’ shell…


Until next year…



This entry was posted on February 22, 2016 by in VISTA Field Reports.



Follow Tulane VISTA Blog on WordPress.com

Follow us on twitter!

%d bloggers like this: