One day, Rosie Chaffold said a prayer. She asked God to help her in her lonely stand to make Allendale a safer community for everyone. At the time, she didn’t know she could make a change, but she had faith that with God’s help she could. This small prayer became something much more powerful. It was just the thing that sparked a beautiful change in the neighborhood of Allendale located in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The neighborhood has seen many changes over the years. Its rich history stretches back over a century. In the 1960s, the neighborhood thrived and was a great place to live and work. However, in the early 1970s, something began to change. News had spread that the I-20 built through the city had wiped out Crosstown and other Black neighborhoods. The decline began to spread to Allendale. In 2000, crime had spread throughout the neighborhood.
Rosie Chaffold moved to Allendale from Bastrop. As she saw the gangs gather in the vacant corner lot near her home, Rosie knew something had to be done for the Allendale community. She spoke out against the gangs in the area and as a warning, they burned her garage. Still, Rosie remained resilient. She refused to give up even in the face of danger. Every day she prayed that help would come.
One day, a miracle came. The folks at Community Renewal came to help Rosie. They worked together to replace the empty corner lot with the Allendale Garden of Hope and Love. Soon, some of the gang members started helping out in the garden. Later, two Friendship Houses were established near the garden.
Today, more community organizations have been created. Allendale has seen a period of renewal thanks to the resilient community members. Against all odds, people in Allendale like Rosie, are making gains on top of the rich history that already exists in the area. They continue to add more learning doing groups that create a strong community through friendship.
Rosie’s story is just one of the many ways Allendale adds value to the Shreveport area. Allendale’s close proximity to downtown Shreveport makes it a great neighborhood to invest in to help boost the local economy. In the past, downtown Shreveport thrived when Allendale thrived.
With its rich history, potential to boost the local economy, and resilient community members, Allendale remains a valuable asset to Shreveport as a whole. However, there was an issue threatening to destroy this neighborhood and disrupt the lives of the people living there.
Our local leaders thought it is a good idea to build I-49 through Allendale destroying all the efforts the people of Allendale have put in to make their community stronger. However, now we know the I-49 connector cannot be built for at least another 3 years. We must now shift our focus to making sure the local government does not forget about Allendale. We must invest in this neighborhood because Shreveport is only as strong as its weakest neighborhood.
The positive changes that occurred after Rosie’s prayer are indeed a miracle that continues to bear fruit of a stronger community. We cannot let this community down after all they’ve been through. Now is the time to stand with the people of Allendale. We cannot abandon them and throw away the neighborhood’s rich history or its potential to give Shreveport a brighter future. Choose to stand with the people of Allendale today and every day.