R. Reese Fuller

Bunk helps rebuild New Orleans

by R. Reese Fuller

Wendell Pierce, the New Orleans native and actor who portrayed Bunk Moreland in The Wire, is working to rebuild Pontchartrain Park, the neighborhood in which he was raised and which was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Pierce has been splitting his time between Los Angeles and New Orleans, where he's also the president of the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association. USA Today reports:
The Pontchartrain Park project is at the core of a massive undertaking by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to acquire and sell 4,500 lots formerly occupied by Katrina-ravaged homes. The lots were purchased from residents by the state using money from Road Home, a hurricane-relief program. The state is now transferring ownership to NORA, which can sell to private developers or individuals. ...

Since Pierce's non-profit group acts as the developer on the Pontchartrain Park initiative, all profits from sales of the homes will be reinvested into the area, either by enhancing the neighborhood or creating an endowment to help in the event of future floods, he says. ...

"We've stepped up to the plate and met government halfway to say, 'We're bringing a solution to the table,' " Pierce says. "It's a model for the rest of the city."
Pierce also has been at work in New Orleans on another project, in his latest role in David Simon's HBO pilot for Treme. Read this recent Q&A from The Gambit's Blog of New Orleans, as well as this New York Times piece about Pierce's efforts.