– 12 ICONS OF NEW ORLEANS –
Selected by JPMorgan Chase
THE ICON: Andreanecia Morris
THE LEGACY: Honored by Gambit as the 2017 New Orleanian of the Year, Andreanecia Morris is known throughout Greater New Orleans for her resolute work in the realm of affordable housing. Morris currently serves as Executive Director of HousingNOLA, an ambitious, ten-year plan developed hand-in-hand with community members to help improve housing policies and increase equity in the Crescent City.
Though she’s not a NOLA native, Morris sees New Orleans as her second home, and she cites the people she’s met here as the driving force behind her decision to champion equitable housing solutions. “The people I’ve met in New Orleans are the ones who taught me about this work,” Morris explains. “They taught me how to think about it, and they have shown me that this injustice is not impossible to fix.”
Since then, Morris has worked tirelessly to further a mission that’s not only hers, but one that’s of the utmost importance to New Orleans as a whole. HousingNOLA has spurred serious state and local policy change in favor of low-priced housing, fair lending practices, transit-oriented development and other areas vital to the initiative’s goals, and the plan is responsible for hundreds of newly created affordable housing opportunities – including 800 developed in 2017 alone.
The road has been long, Morris admits, but considerable progress has already been made, and she has no doubt that the program’s end goal of creating 33,600 affordable housing units by 2025 will come to fruition.
“We presume that this problem can be solved, and believe that it must be solved,” she insists. “We won’t accept anything else.”
THE INSPIRATION: “Imagine how much more special this city will be when we solve its problem with inequitable housing. We’re a beacon for the rest of a country that’s struggling with this problem – and we’re closer to solving this than anybody else. I’m incredibly proud of that.”