NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City and State officials, and FEMA reopened the newly renovated Gernon Brown Recreation Center at 1001 Harrison Avenue at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Marconi Drive across from City Park. This $2 million project restored the existing building which served as a community center and recreational facility before it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“Just across from City Park, the completely renovated Gernon Brown Recreation Center is the perfect addition to the Lakeview community,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “As one of my administration’s committed capital projects, we are rebuilding New Orleans not like she was but how we have always wanted her to be. The City of New Orleans is committed to providing safe places where the young and old alike can come together and enrich themselves in sports, arts, and education.”
Originally constructed in 1967, the Gernon Brown Recreation Center was initially renovated in 1992. An additional renovation project was underway when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005. The building has remained closed to the public since the storm.
Gernon Brown Recreation Center restoration included major repairs and reconstruction to the interior and exterior of the building. Improvements include: new metal roofing and drainage systems, repairs to the metal framed windows and synthetic stucco entrance structures, reconstruction of a storage room, and new outside lighting. The walkways around the gym are now ADA-compliant. Inside the gym, a new gym floor has been installed and the goals and scoreboard have been repaired. For the stage area, new flooring, lighting, and curtain system have been installed. The heating, air conditioning, and electrical and lighting systems have been replaced.
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “I am thrilled to celebrate the re-opening of Gernon Brown Gym. A beloved Lakeview institution for decades, Gernon Brown is back and better than ever after this multi-million dollar renovation. I would like to thank Mayor Landrieu for including Gernon Brown in his 100 Projects for a new New Orleans, and we look forward to wonderful programming from NORDC as Gernon Brown returns to its rightful place as a center for youth, recreation, and family life in the heart of the Lake Area.”
The Gernon Brown Recreation Center features a gymnasium, aerobics area, activity rooms, and theater space complete with its own stage area. The facility offers dance classes through the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance and piano lessons. For registration dates and a schedule of activities, please visit NORDC’s website.
New Orleans Recreation Development Commission CEO Vic Richard said, “NORDC is proud to once again be operating the Gernon Brown Recreation Center. The new and improved facility is another step forward in our quest to become one of the best recreation departments in the country.”
New Orleans Recreation Development Commission Chairman Roy Glapion said, “As always it has been a pleasure to serve as Chairman of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. This is just another project that we are very proud of to serve the citizens and our children in the greater New Orleans area!”
Funding for this $2 million renovation came from Disaster Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funds, City Bond funds, and FEMA public assistance. This project was designed by Yeates and Yeates Architects, LLC of New Orleans and constructed by CDW Services of New Orleans. Waldo Brothers, Inc. and D. Evans Electric LLC served as DBEs on the project.
State of Louisiana Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit Executive Director Pat Forbes said, “The renovation of the Gernon Brown Gym has restored a valuable resource to the residents of Lakeview, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. With the help of nearly $1.5 million in disaster recovery funding, the residents of Lakeview now have access to a renovated indoor venue with space for sports, leisure activities and other events and programs. It’s this kind of community-building investment now that makes communities and neighborhoods more resilient in the future.”
Mike Womack, Executive Director of FEMA Louisiana Recovery said, “FEMA congratulates the City on yet another recovery accomplishment and appreciates the partnership between not only the City of New Orleans, but GOHSEP, the Office of Community Development and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”