Community organizer to share story of resiliency after Hurricane Katrina

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Community center executive director and community organizer Mack McClendon is traveling the East Coast sharing his story of resiliency after Hurricane Katrina. At 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, McClendon will speak on Penn State’s University Park campus in the Stuckeman Family Building Jury Space. The event is free and open to the public.

McClendon’s goal is to spread awareness about the disenfranchisement of his community and to prevent the closure of the invaluable community center, the Lower 9th Ward Village. He will share stories of victories, struggles and the lingering signs of Katrina almost a decade later.

This event is hosted by Penn State’s Stuckeman School and Aaron Wertman’s Apparatus X project. Wertman, a master of architecture student at Penn State, plans to take Apparatus X (his recreational vehicle fitted with a solar power system and water collection and purification system that makes it self-sustaining and independent from the grid when necessary) to New Orleans to create a sweat equity program hosted by Lower 9th Ward Villages on their site. Wertman will provide design support, teach people to use the necessary tools and offer professional services to create architectural pieces through community engagement.

Currently the Lower 9th Ward Village, the main organizing and community space in the neighborhood, is facing foreclosure. By spreading awareness about his organization and screening parts of a documentary about his community, McClendon hopes to keep the doors open and to continue providing community access to information resources, job development programs and housing different projects like Apparatus X. The center has served as a main organizing force through town hall meetings, a skate park, a youth summer camp program, a computer lab and a library.

For more information about Lower 9th Ward Village, visit and

For more information about Apparatus X, visit

Last Updated January 09, 2015