Press Releases


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                           


January 31, 2014


Media Contact:


Mary Beth Romig, Director of Communications   














NEW ORLEANS, LA—Little Paws Dog Park celebrated its grand opening this afternoon, welcoming small dogs and their owners to the city’s newest dog park, located in the Upper 9th Ward. Operated by the Villalobos Rescue Center for Dogs, the dog park was made possible through a grant awarded by Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation’sPitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress competition held in August 2014. Villalobos placed second in the pitch competition, where ideas were presented for commercial use of vacant property. Propeller produced the event along with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA).


The park is located 4519 N. Robertson, near the foot of the Claiborne Bridge that crosses the Industrial Canal.


PitchNOLA 2014: Lots of Progress featured a $7,500 cash prize from Entergy, technical assistance from Propeller and the opportunity to lease and/or purchase one or more properties from NORA.


Qualified entries and individuals interested in creating economic development activity on NORA-owned vacant lots were invited to participate.A panel of three judges - Charles Rice, President of Entergy New Orleans, Tara Hernandez, President of JCH Development and Sean Meenan, founder of Café Habana and Habana Outpost – selected the finalists, with the second prize of $2,000 awarded to Villalobos.


First place winner of the competition was Sankofa Community Development Corporation, with a plan for a pop-up produce stand that will open on a vacant lot in the Lower 9th Ward later this year.


“Little Paws Dog Park is a fun and functional way to breathe life back into this vacant lot,” said Jared Brossett, Councilman, District D. “I know this park will bring a lot of joy to the dogs and owners that visit.”


“The goal of this competition was to activate vacant lots in neighborhoods across the city,” said NORA’s Executive Director, Jeff Hebert. “This great dog park for the smallest of our four-legged friends certainly brings a unique purpose to this patch of land for the dogs and their owners, and will offer neighbors the opportunity to celebrate their community in a different way.” 


“Propeller is so proud to see the progress that Little Paws Dog Park has made in only five months. This kind of impact is exactly what PitchNOLA is all about. Propeller looks forward to assisting more ventures with seed funding and support in the future,” said Andrea Chen, Propeller’s Executive Director.


“New Orleans continues to grow as a hub for entrepreneurs such as Villalobos,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Entergy Corporation. “Entergy is proud to support this project and improve the quality of life for all in New Orleans, and their pets.”


“It’s great to see the park open so quickly,” said Tia Torres, Director of the Villalobos Rescue Center. “We are grateful to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority for helping us accomplish this development and to Entergy for their support. Just a few months ago, this was a quick shortcut from to the rescue center, and today it is a place for our little friends and their owners to play.”


PitchNOLA: Lots of Progress is part of Propeller’s PitchNOLA series, an ongoing initiative that began in 2009 to support community solutions to local challenges in healthy food access, public health, land use, community development, environment and land use.


For more information on Propeller’s PitchNOLA series visit www.GOPropeller.org/PitchNOLATo learn more about the work of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority visit redevelop.nola.gov






Propeller drives social, environmental and economic impact in New Orleans by incubating early-stage ventures that have the potential to solve our city’s most pressing issues.


The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city’s neighborhoods and honor its traditions.



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