Alf Nelson is a native of New Orleans and a pastor at the NOLA Church Plant who has almost single-handedly revitalized an entire neighborhood. Alf and his family returned to New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to focus on rebuilding and revitalizing the community. NOLA Church Plant is focused on building a presence in the community and committed to getting people back in their homes and back to their normal rhythm of life.
Since his return to New Orleans the church has bought and repaired a damaged home and moved into the neighborhood to stay. The NOLA Church Plant was one of the first permanent structures built in the Gentilly neighborhood since Katrina. Gentilly is one of the fastest-growing post-Katrina neighborhoods in the city with 30,000 residents and expected growth of 50 percent in the next five years. When Alf and his family settled into the community in 2009 it was still recovering from the devastation Hurricane Katrina left behind. In particular Alf noticed there was no place for kids and families to play and build relationships. Understanding the need for the neighborhood children to play Alf contacted KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building playspaces across the United States.
As a result of this collaborative effort the community came together to build a playground on December 18, 2010. As Alf said “our playground, and build day, accomplished everything we thought it might – kids and adults are both meeting their neighbors and building relationships – it’s truly incredible.”
In addition to building a great place to play for the children of New Orleans, Alf continued to focus on bringing joy and happiness to children by securing a grant for a set of a new kind of playground equipment called Imagination Playground in a Box. Imagination Playground in a Box is a set of loose parts that can be transported to multiple locations across the city.
Alf’s dedication to a community in need is an inspiration and this is what makes him a Daily Point of Light.