New Friendship House opens in MLK neighborhood

The dedication event was held Wednesday, Sept 6 at 11 a.m. at 2320 Legardy Street.
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 7:20 PM CDT|Updated: 8 hours ago
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — There’s a new house on the block in Shreveport’s MLK neighborhood – the Friendship House.

CPKC, formerly known as Kansas City Southern, partnered with Community Renewal to build this new home. The grand opening was held Wednesday, Sept 6 at 11 a.m. at 2320 Legardy St.

Friendship Houses are homes built in at-risk neighborhoods and lived in by Community Renewal staffers, offering a place of new hope and new beginnings. They provide education, fellowship, after-school activities, family events, community service projects and more in a safe and caring environment.

“There’s been a lot of separation in our neighborhood through gangs and different stuff like that, but there’s only one God. It’s just amazing to guide people in the right direction,” Pat Drew said.

This newest Friendship House is the 11th in Shreveport-Bossier City. The other 10 are in these five neighborhoods of Shreveport-Bossier:

  • Allendale
  • Barksdale Annex
  • Cedar Grove
  • Highland
  • Queensborough

Following an abundance of crime and a recent mass shooting that happened on the Fourth of July in the neighborhood, the Friendship House is a welcome sight for residents in the area.

“If you ain’t from here, you can’t hardly come here; but we trying to change that,” Pat explained. “The bad that you’ve heard about the neighborhood, it’s really not true. It’s a lot of good come out of this neighborhood.”

Pat and Caronda Drew live in the neighborhood and oversee the new Community Renewal facility. Pat, who’s from the MLK neighborhood, hopes to inspire growth.

“I did a lot of things, stood on these same corners with these same guys growing up. I love my neighborhood. I love everybody in my neighborhood. I wanna make change. We are better together,” Pat said.

Caronda is just happy to see the MLK area flourish with resources it never had before.

“It’s the resources that will be provided and just the opportunity if they just come out. Everything is free. There’s no charge,” Caronda said. “You never know what a person is going through. You never know what light you can touch in a person just by sharing your own personal story and who you could absolutely help.”

At the Friendship House, there are programs offered for children and adults.

“In the mornings in most of our Friendship Houses and eventually the one in MLK, we offer adult literacy or adult education programs for adults that have dropped out of school for whatever the reason,” said Jimmy Graves, director of development. “In the afternoons, we have what we call kids clubs and youth clubs, kindergarten through 12th grade, through after-school mentoring programs, a safe place for them to play, for them to connect with each other and begin to grow as citizens and experience the love and hope of God in their life.”

This first MLK Friendship House is part of a long-term commitment to the historic Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood.

CPKC President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel and other company representatives, along with Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux, elected officials and citizens joined in on what seems like the start of something new for the MLK area.