New roofs, revitalization underway in Glen Oaks

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There is a huge effort underway to build hope in a community that crime often calls home.

Four homeowners in Glen Oaks got new roofs as part of a grassroots plan to restore the community.

It's the first step in a bigger plan to change the neighborhood's culture.

A crew of roofers power through the sweltering heat to install a new roof on a home in Glen Oaks. It's a typical day of work for them, but it's anything but ordinary for Lena Jackson, who had been living under a leaky roof since hurricane Gustav nearly six years ago.

"I was shocked and grateful. I wasn't sure it was going to happen," Jackson said.

Jackson is one of four people chosen by the Glen Oaks West Neighborhood Association to receive a new roof.

Reverend Donald Hunter is behind the effort to restore Glen Oaks. He believes improving property values will eventually change a known culture of crime.

"It's an awesome feeling from the standpoint of being a pastor and being able to reach out and touch your neighbor," Rev. Hunter said.

Hunter paved the way in November. Since then, others have climbed on board.

Kevin McKee, the pastor of The Chapel at LSU, said as soon as he heard about Hunter's plan his congregation went to work.

"I think if you're united and you're focused on something it's a pretty powerful force," McKee said.

Together they collected $27,000 in donations to make it happen.

Jackson believes their work will leave a mark.

"The younger people will take on the mentality of the appearance of the community. I know they get where it doesn't matter, but it does matter to the elderly who still live in the community and don't have a choice," Jackson said.

Glen Oaks West hopes everyone who lives there will realize a community that thrives is well within their reach.

Next Glen Oaks West plans to invest in better lighting for the neighborhood.

Their goal is to pay the utility bill on the project for one year.

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