Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo— Every year on the third weekend of May, MotherShip Foundation celebrates Louisiana’s music, art, food, and culture through its Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival, which takes place along the historic and beautiful urban waterway of Bayou St. John. The Bayou Boogaloo was started in 2006 as a way to reinvigorate the people of post-Katrina New Orleans and to provide inspiration for rebuilding within Mid-City. MotherShip established the festival with a mission to restore the social fabric of Mid-City and Faubourg St. John; to connect neighbors, neighborhoods, and businesses; and to provide hope for the future by creating an opportunity for all residents to celebrate the heritage, culture, and diversity of New Orleans. It was a one-day, one-stage event that attracted nearly 5,000 people. But thanks to the festival’s mission and diverse community-based approach, this flagship program has been able to experience tremendous growth over the last ten years and has become the backbone for MotherShip to expand its programming. The Boogaloo is now a three-stage, three-day festival that attracts roughly 35,000 people annually. And Mid-City is now one of the most thriving neighborhoods in town! The festival explores New Orleans’s musical roots in blues, jazz, zydeco, Cajun, funk, hip hop, and rock. Families are made welcome with a kids’ stage for children’s entertainment and activities for all ages. The Boogaloo Art Market offers original works of art in a variety of genres from 70 of Louisiana’s most celebrated artisans. The festival also boasts 30 Louisiana food vendors, serving a plethora of original recipes and traditional New Orleans cuisine. The importance of The Bayou Boogaloo to Mid-City is apparent through the support it receives from all of the surrounding neighborhood organizations (Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Organization, and Parkview Neighborhood Association), which function as collaborative action networks for residents and local merchants. Bayou Boogaloo also serves as a crucial outreach tool for MotherShip Foundation’s approach to encouraging social change by motivating citizens to actively engage themselves in matters that affect their community, collaborate with other organizations, build awareness for local initiatives, and demand a focus on arts, culture, and recreational opportunities as the city continually develops. This community-based approach has proven to be successful largely because policy makers tend to listen to numbers and the media, both of which MotherShip Foundation delivers for pursuing fundamental change.
Restore The Bayou Canopy— In 2012, after six years of operation, The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo was finally sustainable enough to start fulfilling one of its original goals: to give back to the community through investments in arts, culture, and recreation. Knowing that community trees are proven to encourage social gatherings, promote recreation, reduce crime, and improve environmental quality, MotherShip set its eyes on replacing Bayou St. John’s four majestic oak trees that were lost during Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. The Restore the Bayou Canopy Campaign’s initial goal was simply to replace these four trees. But thanks to overwhelming community support, the Foundation has been able to plant five 200-gallon, one 300-gallon, and two towering 670-gallon Southern Live Oaks along Bayou St. John. MotherShip Foundation also facilitated transforming one of the dead oak trees into a public art sculpture thanks to a collaboration between renowned chainsaw artist Marlin Miller and Mardi Gras float craftsman Jonathan Bertuccelli. Aside from the Bayou St. John Parkway, MotherShip also teamed up with Parkway Partners in 2016 to help the Broadmoor neighborhood become home to twelve new 15-gallon trees (including crape myrtles, sweet bay magnolias, and savannah hollies). Broadmoor is at the bottom of New Orleans’ proverbial bowl and suffered tremendous damage during Hurricane Katrina, so these new trees will help mitigate storm water runoff problems in a myriad of ways. MotherShip Foundation plans to continue its Restore the Bayou Canopy Campaign, beautifying the city for generations to come.
Anti-Litter Campaign— In Fall 2014, Parkview Neighborhood Association surveyed residents’ preferences for neighborhood improvement projects. 63% of respondents suggested funds be invested in general maintenance such as “picking up trash in and around the water,” and 42% of respondents suggested other cleanup efforts such as increasing the number of trashcans. Based on the survey results, Parkview Neighborhood Association’s final recommendations included “general upgrades and maintenance to the bayou, including but not limited to more trash cans [and] a more regular trash pickup.” In 2015, MotherShip Foundation’s Board of Directors voted to respond to this community need by investing in a new anti-litter campaign. MotherShip kicked off the program in the Fall of 2015 by sponsoring Bigbelly solar-powered recycling units on the Lafitte Greenway, a project that is being led by Friends of Lafitte Greenway with support from Keep Louisiana Beautiful. In December 2015, MotherShip sent a proposal to the New Orleans Department of Sanitation requesting permission to donate wrought-iron trashcans for the bayou and asking the City to service the receptacles. MotherShip is continuing to put pressure on the City to respond with the cooperative endeavor agreement necessary to move this project forward. In the meantime, we are extremely grateful for a partnership with Kayak-ity-yat, NOLA Trash Mob, and Friends of Lafitte Greenway that facilitated morning banks and bayou cleanups during the 2016 Bayou Boogaloo.
Festival Bonfouca— In 2016, ten years after the first Bayou Boogaloo, MotherShip Foundation has expanded its festival programming onto Louisiana’s Northshore. The First Annual Festival Bonfouca was Slidell’s first three-day community arts and music festival and took place March 18-20, 2016 on the gorgeous banks of Bayou Bonfouca in Heritage Park. MotherShip Foundation seeks to establish Festival Bonfouca as an annual event that fuels the cultural economy and provides opportunities for all stakeholders including artists, musicians, vendors, nonprofit partners, and surrounding communities. We hope that you’ll join us in our efforts to promote Bayou Bonfouca and Heritage Park as a year-round destination for local and out of town visitors alike. Check out FestivalBonfouca.com for updates.