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The New Freret initiative wins $25,000 grant

September 24, 2010

The New Freret, a nonprofit organization that seeks to promote business on the Freret Corridor from Jefferson Avenue to Napoleon Avenue, was recently awarded a $25,000 grant as part of the National Markham Mark of Distinction Award by Markham Vineyards of St. Helena, Calif. Loyola University New Orleans Theatre Arts costume director and extraordinary assistant professor Kellie Grengs, M.F.A., led the push for the grant which will help revitalize the Freret Street neighborhood.

“Other corridors in New Orleans have seen a tremendous resurgence in business activity with similar grant funds,” said Grengs. “This grant is the nest egg for The New Freret that will start the momentum rolling and return Freret Street to a viable economic area of commerce.”

Markham Vineyards grants two $25,000 awards annually to organizations committed to making a “Mark of Distinction” in their neighborhood, town or city. Out of the hundreds of proposals the organization received, 10 finalists were chosen to compete. The winners were chosen through online voting.

According to Grengs, the initial disbursement of $5,000 will happen within the next week and the remainder will be awarded once a final budget is submitted to Markham Vineyards. In October, Grengs will visit Markham Vineyards to fulfill marketing and promotional activities associated with the award.

“The grant will help pay for the development of the current website, signage, marketing, advertising, a security detail and perhaps monthly street cleaning,” said Grengs. “Litter is a large problem in the area and the city refuses to place garbage cans on the corridor.”

In addition to providing grants, Markham Vineyards will also produce two single-vineyard, limited production Estate Cabernet Sauvignon wines appropriately named The Philanthropist and The Altruist in honor of the grant recipients. To celebrate and raise awareness of each, project information will be highlighted on the back labels of these wines. The 2008 vintage, featuring this year’s grant recipients, will be released in fall 2011.

For more information, contact thenewfreret@gmail.com.

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