Nonprofit Hopes to Protect New Orleans Culture

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Photo courtesy of Feed the Second Line (Photographer: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee)

NEW ORLEANS (press release) — Feed the Second Line is one of four partner organizations joining the initial cohort of the Levine Impact Lab. Launched in late October, the lab is a new, multi-year initiative of the Honnold Foundation, funded by an initial $5 million by venture capitalist and environmentalist Peter Levine. The lab’s mission is to support its partners – all BIPOC-led grassroots organizations within the U.S. – with funding and resources that support capacity building and growth.

Since 2005’s devastating Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans continues to be battered by near-yearly storms. In addition to impacting daily life for city residents, power outages sabotage the tourism industry, especially restaurants, threatening historically disenfranchised BIPOC communities the most. 

Although the city received federal funding in 2016 for decentralized micro grids, construction on these projects hasn’t started. Through its “Get Lit, Stay Lit” program, Feed the Second Line is taking matters into its own hands by building a network of solar-powered restaurants to bolster storm resilience. 

An initial grant last year from the Honnold Foundation funded solar energy installations on the rooftops of three local restaurants. Feed the Second Line hopes its partnership with the Impact Lab will allow it to scale the program at a much faster rate, with an initial goal of 300 installations. In addition to saving food and preserving jobs, these restaurants can become a cooling center, a phone charging center, a food-distribution hub, and/or a place where neighbors can grab a little ice when the power goes out at home, ultimately acting as the “first first responder” for the community during severe weather events.

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