Mackie brothers bring multi-million dollar projects to expand arts and sciences in New Orleans East
Actor Anthony Mackie purchases land for production studio, Founder & CEO of STEM NOLA, Dr. Calvin Mackie builds STEM Hub
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Arts and sciences converge in New Orleans East thanks to the Mackie brothers, both spearheading their own multi-million dollar projects near Read Boulevard.
“Whatever our children need, all paths will lead to the East for them,” Dr. Calvin Mackie said.
A barren stretch on either side of I-10 in the Little Woods neighborhood now has hope it will bloom with development.
“You look at the deployment of assets in the City, it seems like the East has been left out, and sometimes seems like it’s by design,” Mackie said.
Founder and CEO of STEM NOLA, Mackie says when you look at the needs of a community, New Orleans East just makes sense to develop for he and his brother, actor Anthony Mackie.
“It has one of the largest population densities in the city and it’s very underserved,” Mackie said.
While the city booms with film and tv production, Marvel’s newest Captain America, Anthony Mackie just finished buying 20 acres of land to house a studio and his production company, East Studios.
It’s a stones throw away, across the interstate from the 42,000 square foot site donated to STEM NOLA by Ochsner to create a STEM Innovation Hub for Black Excellence.
“We’re trying to create the NOCCA of STEM right? If a kid comes up in a third grade, like my son, and says, ‘Daddy, I believe I can prove time travel’, like my other nephew in 10th grade, he said he wanted to learn about artificial intelligence, there’s nowhere for them to go,” Mackie said.
It will not only be headquarters but also house laboratory space, classrooms, and cutting edge technology to educate and connect students to STEM careers and skills as more industries in the field move South.
“We are building a cradle to career pipeline for our kids can take advantage of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning big data or predictive analytics,” Mackie said. “There’s 150,000 K-12 students that are thirsting for what we’re bringing to New Orleans East and with the interstate, being right down the interstate, all of these school systems we have direct access to some of the most advanced technology that our children need in the 21st century.”
This, on top of the expansive STEM district Dr. Mackie will be working on in the first phase of the Bayou Phoenix project, reviving the old Six Flags site.
“I walked out in New Orleans East one day and I saw what somebody saw 50 years ago in North Carolina,” Mackie said. “A guy looked at the map and he saw he had a density of universities and colleges, he drew a triangle, and he said it’s the ‘Research Triangle’ and they’ve done a trillion dollars in economic development over the last 50 years.”
Dr. Mackie says the hub should be done by summer of 2024 and will be ready to partner with all the colleges and universities as well as all K-12 schools and other STEM organizations to serve the entire region.
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