The story of Desire Community Square
Desire Street Ministries was founded in 1990 in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. By the time Hurricane Katrina submerged the ministry is 8 ft. of murky water in 2005, the ministry had established a church, built a
junior-senior high school for 200 African-American males, partnered to provide a children’s medical clinic
for neighbors without adequate transportation, sponsored community gardening projects, and been instrumental in the City’s demolition and replacement of the housing projects, gaining recognition and appreciation from City and State leaders. After the storm, DSM went to work cleaning up its facility at 3600 Desire Parkway in New Orleans, and then facilitated over 1,200 volunteers to clean-up 150 damaged homes and buildings in the area.
God used that storm to propel us forward to our next goal: today we are a catalyst reaching far beyond New Orleans. Our headquarters are now in Atlanta, GA but the plight of our “home” neighborhood is still dear to our hearts. So we invested our resources there and rebuilt a center for the community ― for a brighter future.
Desire Street Ministries, like others in the City of New Orleans, dreamed of rebuilding after the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina subsided. But our hope was not just to replace what was lost; we wanted to contribute to an improved quality of life in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, with the goal of encouraging development, growth and sustainability of the neighborhood.
After a very long process, Desire Community Square was opened in August 2016! We’re very grateful for a FEMA grant, which reimbursed over $8 million of costs for the new $11.1 million project. However, costs of certain architectural and project management fees, as well as landscaping expenses, fencing, security, paving and site utilities are not reimbursable under the grant. We are so grateful to all those who donated to cover these additional costs.
By partnering with other local non-profit organizations — Abundance of Desire, Daughters of Charity Health Center-Desire, and Kids of Excellence — we are bringing a community center, a comprehensive medical clinic and an early childhood center to the Desire community. In the first year of operations, Kids of Excellence has maintained serving a capacity 70 children with a waiting list, Daughters of Charity Health Center-Desire has seen an average of 270 patients monthly, and Abundance of Desire has served over 5,000 attendees at various events and programs held in the community center.