When ArcGNO set out in 2010 to renovate 3700 Jean Lafitte Parkway, we had a big vision, inspired largely by Polly Campbell. Polly’s dream was to open a gathering place that would help the St. Bernard community to reconstitute itself. She envisioned a crossroads where those with intellectual disabilities could learn a trade and earn a living, all the while interacting with the rest of the community. With the support of many friends in St. Bernard Parish – first among them David Fennelly – the hurricane-wrecked property was readied for occupancy. As with any major new endeavor, however, bumps in the road were encountered, and the vision of a bustling gathering place on Jean Lafitte did not materialize.
In Spring 2017, the board of ArcGNO hired Dr. Stephen Sauer as its new Executive Director and charged him with finding a viable purpose for the building once called Sterling Hall. After months of exploration, planning, and preparation, a new venture – known as “Arc on the Parkway” – was launched in January 2018. This venture is a collaborative endeavor between ArcGNO and Chalmette residents Johnell and April Young. Johnell and April have prior experience running a venue and familial connections to the developmental disabilities community. With a deep love of our mission and endless energy, they have invested their time, sweat, and resources into launching the business. They have assumed full responsibility for all operational aspects of Arc on the Parkway and full liability for its commercial success. And business is growing!!
Encouraged by this success ArcGNO will soon begin planning for the inclusion of a pre-vocational training program in Chalmette. Participants in the pre-vocational program will have the opportunity to become hired staff at Arc on the Parkway upon completion from the program, but they will also have the tools necessary to apply for employment with any event or hospitality venue throughout the greater New Orleans area. Stay tuned to further updates, and should you wish to support our mission by holding an event at Arc on the Parkway, you can call 504-342-9902.