Serving healthy, locally-sourced, delicious food to groups and individuals around the city through a cooperative business that benefits, is governed by, and is accountable to the community in which it lives: The Lower 9th Ward.
Ben Perrin, Burnell Cotlon
Ben Perrin has been passionate about service his whole life, and has spent most of his time as an educator. He was raised in a housing co-operative for low and middle income families in Vancouver, where he learned to appreciate the value of community. After several years of teaching at both the high school and elementary level in New Orleans, he decided to use his skill set and previous experience running a business to help catalyze economic development in the Lower 9th Ward. With an approach of focusing on ‘What’s Strong, not What’s Wrong’, he has helped increase many aspects of Burnell Cotlon’s Lower 9th Ward Market, and continues to seek out a network of people committed to creating beauty, health, safety, and sustainability in the Lower 9th Ward.
Burnell Cotlon is an Entrepreneur, Army Veteran, and Lifelong Resident of the 9th Ward of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his community, he was fortunate enough to return and rebuild. When he noticed the continued suffering of his neighbors in the Lower 9th Ward, and discovering that it was a ‘food desert’, he spent his entire life savings to build businesses that serve the needs of his neighbors. Since he opened the doors at Caffin and Galvez, he has built a barber shop, a sweet shop serving snowballs, a kitchen for po-boys and hot plates, a grocery store, and a laundry room, and is currently developing a non-profit Internet Cafe that will offer free internet and computer access to everyone. His goal is to help the community he loves by growing more businesses and jobs, and to bring it back from the persisting devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.