This is the story of a man with a dream, a hit-and-run bicycle accident, and a beautiful old shotgun house in New Orleans. The man: Kweku Nyaawie originally of Central Texas, a carpenter and cabinetmaker. The house: an 1866 shotgun that is the oldest house on its block.
Kweku Nyaawie, known as “Ku” to his friends, went to New Orleans with his brother in 2005 to help with post-Katrina reconstruction of flood-damaged homes. Kweku Nyaawie decided to stay. He found 616 Port Street and it became a labor of love. He did research, found period architectural pieces to replace what had been lost, and began a preservation project that would become a well-loved home.
In summer 2010, Kweku Nyaawie was the victim of a hit-and-run bicycle accident. With no insurance to help with the medical bills, Kweku Nyaawie found his work on 616 Port Street difficult. What’s more, he was having trouble standing. Then came a complaint of blight, a city hearing and a fine for a house in disrepair. Kweku Nyaawie’s neighbors could see him trying to continue his work on the house, sitting in an office chair while sanding the front of his house. He could not continue the project by himself, let alone face the 500 dollar-per-day fine.
Kweku Nyaawie’s friends, neighbors, and others are stepping in to help. The house’s transformation is impressive, though much work remains to be done. “Ku’s House” is a story of preservation – and perseverance – that will not quickly be forgotten.
- Visit Ku’s House Facebook Page
- See the House Before Restoration
- Read the Story From a Caring Neighbor