About CSED

Staff

Caring, talented, committed to a sustained renewal of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward – that’s our growing team at CSED. From our offices in the back of Greater Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church at Chartres and Lizardi, CSED staffers can be found frequently at community events from river to bayou and throughout New Orleans while working every week with many neighborhood residents and business owners.

  • Arthur Johnson, Executive Director

    Arthur was born in the Nation’s Capital but his roots are in New Orleans and date back to visits with his grandmother who lived in the Lower Ninth Ward on Forstall Street. He grew up in Washington, DC and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The George Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia, respectively. He relocated to New Orleans in 1999 where he has established himself as an accomplished fundraising professional and non-profit leader with a number of educational institutions and organizations. This has included work with Tulane and Xavier Universities and the New Orleans Public Schools. More recently, he has served as Regional Vice President for Major Gifts with the American Heart Association, Director for the Office of Development for Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, and Chief Development Officer for Operation Reach. As CSED’s Interim Executive Director, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and works closely with staff and volunteers to advance CSED’s key initiatives focused on Food Security, the Natural Environment and the Built Environment.

    "I am very excited and honored to be part of the CSED family. This opportunity will allow me to contribute to the betterment of the Lower Nine community and to provide leadership and direction for an organization whose mission is vested in my heart!"

  • Kathy Muse, Program Coordinator & Urban Farm Manager

    A founding staff member, Kathy has been a part of the CSED team since December 2006 while calling the Lower 9th Ward home since 1978. Her current responsibilities include community outreach, administration of the Radiant Barrier Program, and research and development of an urban mini farm. Kathy was also our financial administrator for five years and served as coordinator of the basic weatherization program (56 homes) and the donation and installation of 10 Sharp Solar PV systems. In addition, she organized the post-Katrina donation/distribution of bicycles, paint, CFL bulbs and several tree plantings. An avid community activist, Kathy has acted as Rebuilding Together Holy Cross Neighborhood Leader since 1995 and serves on the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association Board as Treasurer.

    “We invite you to join your neighbors and become a part of THE RADIANT NINE! Good for you and for Mother Earth!!” 

  • Warrenetta Banks, Volunteer Coordinator

    Warrenetta is a Lower 9th Ward native, returning to her Holy Cross Neighborhood home in May 2007 following the damage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Currently, she manages all volunteer activities for CSED – pairing skilled and unskilled individuals and groups with Lower 9 residents and business owners in need of assistance. Since March 2008, CSED has welcomed nearly 3,000 volunteers contributing more than 42,000 hours to the community. Warrenetta also serves as the “voice” of CSED to the public via phone, email and other communications.

    “Our volunteers have given their time and money, but most importantly they have given their love. They worked in the rain, the cold, and more often than not, the humidity, but they did it all with grace and a smile on their face!”

  • Vincent Fedeli, Energy Efficiency & Urban Farm Manager

    Upon graduating from Antioch College in 2004, Vincent spent two years in Spain and Italy working as a volunteer for WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), then studied Solar PV, Renewable Energy, and Energy Conservation in Colorado at Solar Energy International (SEI). From there, he joined AmeriCorps VISTA for a year of service with Global Green in New Orleans, providing energy efficiency assessments and education to low income residents in Orleans Parish. Today, Vincent specializes in radiant barrier installations, home energy assessments, sealing HVAC duct systems and insulation for CSED – while also working to develop a bio-intensive Urban Mini-Farm for the community. A RESNET certified Energy Rater and LEED Green Associate, he now resides in the Lower Ninth Ward.

    “I strongly believe that with minimal investment all homes can improve their energy efficiency and that efficient homes are cheaper to operate, healthier, have smaller carbon footprints, are more comfortable and more valuable!”

  • Jenga Zamani Mwendo, Food Security Coordinator

    As founder of the Backyard Gardeners Network, Jenga sees great potential in strengthening and revitalizing the Lower Ninth Ward and its cultural heritage through urban agriculture. Among her many achievements, she established the Guerrilla Garden, a community gardening space at Caffin and Chartres, and currently manages the Laurentine Ernst Garden at Forstall and Chartres. Born in the Lower 9th Ward in a house on Royal Street, she left New Orleans for a career in computer animation – returning to the city in 2009 with her daughter Azana to organize within the community through gardening/growing. Currently, Jenga is a 2011-2013 Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Fellow; in 2010-2011 she was honored as a TogetherGreen Fellow.

    “All people deserve access to quality foods to lead healthy and happy lives, so our goal is to work with other neighborhood organizations to create and implement a plan to ensure that we have adequate food access now  and in the future.”

  • John Taylor, Wetland Specialist

    A lifelong resident of the Lower Ninth Ward, John serves as CSED’s Wetland Specialist: providing visitor tours of Bayou Bienvenue and maintaining the viewing platform while helping to monitor water quality, fish and wildlife within this triangle of tupelo cypress swamp. He is also an amateur naturalist and talented photographer – documenting the return of killdeer, cardinals, osprey, white pelicans, yellow crowned night herons, red-winged blackbirds, ibis, alligators, nutrias, snappers, rabbits, otters and even a family of armadillos since the MRGO has closed. John also supplements his income as a folk artist, using old cypress wood and gar fish scales to make jewelry and other crafts.

    “While the wetland is slowly coming back on its own, if we ever want it to be the kind of swamp it was when I was a kid, it will take some serious help from everyone: residents, non-profits and politicians.”

  • Charles Reddick, Energy Efficiency Apprentice

    A lifelong resident of the community, Charles and his family have called the Lower Ninth Ward home for several generations. As Energy Efficient Apprentice, he works directly with Kathy Muse and Vincent Fedeli in CSED’s radiant barrier program on the path to earning his RESNET certification. In addition, he has recently expressed a desire to explore the opportunity of the Urban Farm Apprenticeship. Whether Charles remains with the radiant barrier program or transitions over to the urban farm, he will be instrumental in tapping into the younger population in our community to discover that next generation of farmers and gardeners.

  • Beverly R. Jackson, Neighborhood Planning Organizer

    Beverly, a long-time resident of the Lower 9, started her career as a part-time community worker at Macarty and Edison School with the Head Start Program. After raising two sons, she worked as a receptionist, clerk and secretary at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in the Respiratory Therapy Department. She came out of retirement to assist the LSU Stanley Scott Cancer Center’s STAR prevention program for underserved women. Following Hurricane Katrina, she worked as part-time receptionist with The Department of Environmental Quality in Lockport, Louisiana – returning in 2009 to the Lower Ninth Ward. For CSED, Beverly will focus on Neighborhood Planning: recruiting residents and community leaders for the planning committee, overseeing scheduled meetings, finding and developing local food options.

    “As Coordinator for the food planning action process this position has provided me with a unique experience to learn about community organizing and community service. I have come to see that our food planning process is so valuable and important towards addressing food access. Food access is critical to our way of life (spirit, mind, body), not just for Lower 9 but for all of humanity.”