It Is All Business


It Is All Business




Ms. Kimberly Lavon Contribution To New Orleans


This is going into detail about Ms. Kimberly's life and what she has done that has contributed to New Orleans. She teaches about the business of money and flipping houses.


Tru Jamison


My Nola, My story via YouTube


Mass Communication department at the Xavier University of Louisiana


23rd and 24th April 2021


Tru Jamison


My Nola, My Story




iMovie and Zoom



A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format


00:03- 0:10- Tru Jamison: We're here today to introduce Ms. Kim to Xavier University of Louisiana and to get to know her contribution to New Orleans

00:11- 0:28- Ms. Kimberly: My father always talked about New Orleans even though he was born in Jefferson as well. So, he always talked about politics he always talked about how the city could be better uh how the community should work together what community leaders could be leading and so I grew up listening to conversations like that all the time

0:28-0:42-Ms. Kimberly: There's something was telling me that I should volunteer uh internationally and I had this feeling that uh I should give back the selfish part of me said that if I give back that um somehow I'll be blessed forward

0:42-1:02 Ms. Kimberly: I joined the united states peace corps and I went to the central Southern Africa and so while I was there I worked with two villages uh one you know it was like a 45 minute walk every day the other one was more like an hour and a half every day up a mountain across streams and things like that two totally different schools one not as remote one variable

01:02-01:08- Ms. Kimberly: and so I did that too as well as like teaching uh aids education uh workshops to the to the two years

01:08—01:32 Ms. Kimberly: and came back I taught in all these parish public school system and I immediately started realizing that if I had 18 kids literally only five of them would bring that homework no matter what the incentive was or what have you so I do think I was good as a teacher and a lot of them were able to excel and uh be at their level not below their level but what I learned from the experience was that a lot of my kids came from

01:32-01:46 Ms. Kimberly: the housing development that was up the street at the time it was called the Saint Bernard housing development and uh if not 80 of them did and so
they really taught me that parents had a lot to do with

01:46- 02:02 Ms. Kimberly: uh the influence on kids but what can I do to affect the macro system and i said maybe i should affect policy and so my interest became well uh we had books we didn't have a charge of supplies or anything like that uh we had a shortage of influence the right kind of influence so

02:02—02:28 Ms. Kimberly: My thought was how can policy affect uh adults like the parents to being a Maryland fellow for a year and you had to be in the master's program uh and they picked five people so luckily I was selected at the last minute and that brought me back to New Orleans and literally I moved to New Orleans and I was here two weeks and had moved all of my things from Illinois hurricane Katrina hit the
02:28—02:52 Ms. Kimberly: crisis but then also the planning and then the development and then those are long stages so prices is how do you just make sure the utilities on how do you make sure the streets are clear how do you make sure businesses have permits to work that you know whatever funds are available how do you just make sure they have whatever type of grants kind of get started again how do you motivate businesses to want to work in

02:52—03:24 Ms. Kimberly: uh that's a whole other you know idea of business retention versus business attraction so New Orleans fault has always wanted to attract more business we need more businesses you know planning is more when you actually work with the community and you actually um go into neighborhoods and have community meetings community being the neighborhood meetings and the business associations are invited as well and you basically try to reach a consensus so you may start off with all of the different neighborhoods being divided into what at that time was called target areas

03:24—04:05 Ms. Kimberly: and so everybody within those particular target areas was asked to come together and list what they thought were projects that should be funded by the city whether it be housing economic development or even infrastructure related and infrastructure could include libraries it could include community centers it could include parks and so once you get the list together then you ask the neighborhoods to decide what were the priorities and then development is when you actually take those projects and submit it to the state and the state that basically allocates monies at all federal grant monies or federal monies that are used to actually fund housing economic development and infrastructure those are the three major buckets

04:07—05:10 Ms. Kimberly: I started meeting developers that were coming to the city of New Orleans and would say I want to do this project it might be what they call a mixed use project and a project might include housing and some business or retail on the first floor and they might have had a project of 70 million dollars and it would have been they may say we're looking to have uh the support of the city and we would like that support to be in the amount of five million dollars or two million dollars from the city my question became well where did the other 68 or 65 million dollars come from a lot of money so I started meeting with a developer called hri which is is an acronym for historic restoration incorporated and they're one of the largest developers in the state and what they do is they go into communities uh that need revitalization or have old historic properties and they EU tax credits uh using that credit as uh money to basically to fund a portion of the project so with the historic tax credit at the state level and historic tax credit at the federal level there are two different ones

05:10—05:38 Ms. Kimberly: and then whatever shortage they have they get from the banks and if they can't get it from the banks then that's how they end up asking the city for five hundred thousand dollars or a million dollars or two million or five million dollars I was able to see like uh like how much money is put into what they call community development so the idea of community development community development is those three buckets housing economic development and infrastructure and at any given moment if you're in the field of community development you're probably going to touch those one of those three

05:38—06:51 Ms. Kimberly: uh if two or two or the two of the three I started a business a development firm called Palefa development, Palefa was the name given to me when I was in Lesotho and it means flower but Palefa development basically builds uh housing so I build single family houses I am not a I don't have a contractor's license I work with builders to build houses but I pick the I do site selection to find where I want to build the house I picked the design for the house the floor plan and the exterior uh elevation which is what the front of a building looks like I picked the uh the contractors that will work on the home and I basically project manage the building of the house to basically build them within four months and then I sell them and so that's what I do now which is
still a part of community development. Oh, I travel. I'm basically like an advocate for the state of Louisiana. So, I traveled to Louisiana um we had branches from all the way from as low as uh I should say as west as Lake Charles all the way as south as uh north at Shreveport uh and all the way through New Orleans it's like five or six branches in New Orleans so what I did with them for three years is

06:51—07:09 Ms. Kimberly: I basically fund private projects like we talked about the idea of the
private financing projects that were being developed whether it be housing or whether they be retail and I funded uh non-profits that were doing private work of the bank's dollars like

07:10—07:17 Tru Jamison: any advice for me are like the kids of Xavier university

07:17—08:34 Ms. Kimberly: uh I would say nurture your technical and artistic side you have to understand the business side you have to understand business so if my my thought would be if I could encourage every Xavier uh graduate to have taken some level of some some interest in a business course whether it be some would say well what course okay some would say marketing maybe say accounting I was accounting and I would say of finance how do you how do you understand everything around what you're doing and to me you can't do that unless you understand the financial statements and once you understand the financial statements then you understand where the weaknesses are and how you grow And I think considering that Xavier University produces so many African students I I'm not I could say African-American but I'll just say African students then that means that that's how we can impact our neighborhoods that's how we can impact our community when we understand the business of it but
how do you figure out the technical business side so that our uh African communities
are more holistically sound that's what that would be what I suggest to save your students

08:34—08:53 Tru Jamison: Well thank you you're welcome um I would like to thank
you again for doing this interview with me and taking time out your day to discuss what you do and how you contribute and how us as of your students can also contribute so thank you


8 mins and 55 seconds


Tru Jamison


Tru Jamison
Date Added
February 24, 2021
Item Type
Moving Image
Tru Jamison , “It Is All Business,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed June 25, 2022,