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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Burnell Cotlon has lived in New Orleans his whole life and he calls the lower ninth ward home.

After Hurricane Katrina, he says the area became a food desert and locals had to go miles for groceries. Burnell saw the need in his community and spent his life savings to start Burnell’s Lower Ninth Ward Market.

“A lot of people don’t know the Lower Ninth Ward is still suffering from Katrina, let alone all the other hurricanes and Covid 19,” said Cotlon.

But Burnell noticed that his neighborhood had another need, after a finding a young girl on a computer behind his store late at night.

“She came over here to do her homework cause she said her mom had to turn her internet off,” said Cotlon.

That’s how Burnell got the idea to start an internet café for the neighborhood. He bought the building behind his store but needed help getting it up and running. That’s when SBP and Lowe’s stepped up, including Lowe’s partner Drew Brees.

“This structure behind us was an empty structure with no roof not too long ago and because of Mr. Burnell’s hard work and Lowe’s commitment, it’s going to be an internet café very soon that’s going to provide free internet access to the community so kids can come here and be able to do their homework,” said Brees.

Members with SBP and Lowe’s got straight to work, painting the building and doing construction in and outside. It’s the first step towards making Burnell’s dream a reality, and he’s overwhelmed with an attitude of gratitude.

“From the bottom of my heart thank you because it’s my community, I know it’s not everybody else’s community for them to take time out their lives to help me with my community means a lot to me,” said Cotlon.