Dear Greenway Community,
One month ago, we celebrated the inaugural Hike Fest. Our community was still reeling. Three weeks prior, Nellie (our Program Director) and I narrowly survived the horrific crash, biking on Esplanade Avenue, that took two of our dearest friends’ lives. For me, that day at the Hike Fest--under the crisp sunshine, surrounded by dancing, and laughing children--was a crystallization of the goodness of life, and it began to fill a space in my chest that felt hollow.
At the Greenway, we have worked together to build a community and a place that connects us. Nellie and I have shared our awe: we never anticipated that we would personally need to draw so heavily upon it, and yet this Greenway community stepped in with a thousand acts of goodness to support our healing, to produce the Hike Fest, and to carry us through.
This inaugural fest was a success beyond our goals. Attended by 2,500 community members,
the fest raised $68,000 to support our work to build a healthy and vibrant Greenway--a space that connects us to nature, our destinations, and each other. I cannot begin to thank and recognize Nellie Catzen and Jazmin Castillo--my team--who led with bravery and grace while I was still recovering, and the extraordinary generosity in time and talents of our community, board members, volunteers, donors, and partners.
The crash has underscored the importance of our work--building safe spaces and building community. The Greenway is the backbone of New Orleans’ bike network. We must work together to expand and connect the network of bikeways protected from car traffic. We must continue to build this community that supports, heals, and shows us the beauty in life.
In two weeks, on May 7th, we as a city will celebrate GiveNOLA Day, a day to support causes that are making a difference in our community. I invite you to read the work of my dear friend, Sharree Walls, to “think about what motivates you to give,” and to consider “giving to fulfill passions, find happiness and be a part of a community.”
I have found these and more on the Greenway. Perhaps you have too. If you have, or if you are still searching for your passions, your community, I invite you to join us this GiveNOLA Day and always.
Sophie Harris Vorhoff
Pictured above: Nellie (Left) and I (right) reunite at Hike Fest. (Update: I'm free of both wheelchair and neck brace and healing well.)
Photo by Patrick Niddrie
Photo by Richard Lincoln
Photo by Hunter King