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Community,  Culture,  New Orleans,  Non-fiction,  Urban Neighborhood

Cyril Neville To Appear At African-American Heritage Cultural Center Debut Event

The African-American Heritage Cultural Center (AAHCC) is hosting a “Day of Prayer” on Saturday, March 24 at 1350 Port of New Orleans Pl. The day will be a “reconciliation prayer service and cultural event,” in celebration of New Orleans’ tricentennial. The event is the AAHCC’s first, and will be free and open to the public.

The activities begin at 11 a.m. with a discussion of New Orleans culture led by Cyril Neville. The interfaith prayer service starts at 12 p.m., with representation from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Catholic Diocese of New Orleans, Episcopal Church Diocese of Louisiana, and Baptists, Methodists, Buddhists, Jews, Islamic, and more. At 2 p.m., a Voodoo Drumming and Dance ceremony will conclude the event.

The Day of Prayer is the first part of the AAHCC’s mission to establish a major cultural center on the river, focused on showcasing the contributions of root cultures in the Delta region. Working with the National Park Service, the Port of New Orleans, City Council and various religious organizations, the AAHCC is in the process of redeveloping several vacant wards into their Heritage Corridor and Cultural Center.

“150 years after its abolition, slavery’s effect can still be seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted throughout the Gulf South’s heritage, history and culture,” AAHCC founder and operations director Lloyd Lazard said in a statement to the press. “The Day of Prayer is for the sins of slavery in the cradle of the slave trade and for the souls lost at sea in the Middle Passage on the way to the Americas. Africa had the Door of No Return and we are creating the Place of Spiritual Reception in New Orleans.”

Native of New Orleans, who endured 20yrs cruel Minnesota Cold, I decided at 42yrs old it was time to pack up my then 6yr old and come back to my roots. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a preterm 2lb baby girl born with a disability. With the help of my mother who had her own struggles. We survived the obstacles laid before us. I'm the proud mother of three children with two failed adoptions, as well as a grandmother of three, two grandsons and a granddaughter. I survived two abusive marriages. I successfully ran a soulfood restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I started creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul.  He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute.  I put my all into my cake business over the years as House of Cakes was started right out of my house in honor of him. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, foster/adoptive mother at that, being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me in a sense; but most of it poisoned my heart and soul. I had a broken heart and I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home,  myself, my New Orleans. I'm here and I'm loving it. Even being in the so called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up! I'm down in the boot, but I know I have a nice floppy hat awaiting my destiny...

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