LiveWell Louisiana

PitchNola: Living Well

Lower 9th Ward Market wins first-place prize of $5,000 in seed funding.
June 11th, 2015 by: Misty Miloto

As part of last month’s Propeller’s PitchNOLA: Living Well competition, 10 local entrepreneurs presented their ideas on how to build a healthier New Orleans to a packed audience of more than 150 community members and health advocates. The solutions presented covered everything from maternal health to food literacy and security. A judging panel — consisting of Dr. John Elstrott, Dr. Florencia Polite and Dr. Joe Kanter — selected three finalists, who were awarded $10,000 in total seed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The $5,000 first-place prize went to Burnell and Keasha Cotlon for the Lower 9th Ward Market, the first food store to open in the area in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina. 

The market is currently in operation at the corner of Caffin Avenue and North Galvez Street. Prior to the market’s opening last November, many nearby residents were traveling five miles or three bus lines to reach the nearest grocery store. The Cotlons will use the seed money to expand inventory and to purchase a second truck for local deliveries.

Current Propeller Accelerator Fellow, Community Plates ( — a solution to food waste and food insecurity that leverages volunteers through a mobile app — won the $3,000 second-place prize. In the past six months, Community Plates has saved 9,500 fresh meals from being thrown away, redirecting them to shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens.

The $2,000 third-place prize went to the Urban Farmstead (, an educational center dedicated to teaching locals about Permaculture design and homesteading skills (including everything from how to grow fresh produce to different methods of composting). Over the next year, the Urban Farmstead plans to increase the extent to which people are growing their own food in New Orleans, while also offering free workshops to neighborhood residents in Central City. 

Last, but not least, the Audience Favorite award of $1,310 went to Birthmark Doulas’ (birthmarkdoulas. com) latest initiative, the NOLA Milk Bank. This will be Louisiana’s first accredited service offering access to a safe, high-quality supply of donor breast milk. The prize was funded entirely by audience donations and determined by a live text-in vote from the audience.