Community Member

Allendale Strong

Shreveport, Louisiana

A sidewalk squeezes next to the Evangeline Thruway. Photo by Robin May. Source: The Current.

Allendale Strong was founded in 2012 to protect, strengthen and revitalize the Allendale neighborhood, whose existence is threatened by the proposed development of the I-49 Intercity Highway Connector (ICC), a 3.5-mile stretch of roadway designed to link two existing segments of I-49 north and south of the city at a projected cost to taxpayers of $865 million. Conceived as a “learning-doing community,” Allendale Strong initially invited neighbors to learn how highways decimated Black neighborhoods in previous decades, how sprawl devalued downtowns, and how some neighborhoods successfully resisted highway expansions. These meetings transformed into action against the ICC, alongside efforts to renew the city relationally, economically and environmentally. Through protests, community projects, litigation and other methods, Allendale Strong empowers its community of willing citizens, sharing knowledge and experience with other neighborhoods, enabling each to grow to potential wholeness.

“Looking at where I live right now, it’s like they want to push us out farther and, well, it will gentrify the community,” said Dorothy Wiley, who opposes a proposed highway expansion near her home in Louisiana. Source: The New York Times.

Allendale Strong was founded by Dorothy Wiley, who moved to Allendale after being uprooted from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. The organization is a collective of members of the Allendale community, whose population of 5,000 residents is more than 90% Black. Although involved in a broad array of community projects, the organization is currently focusing on three main initiatives: opposition to the ICC; SWEPCO Park Improvements & Fundraiser to enhance the neighborhood; and the creation of a Business Boulevard, focusing on empowering the people of Allendale in their capacity to lead and participate in the investment from the Boulevard project. Allendale Strong has also worked in partnership with groups like Community Renewal International and the Fuller Center for Housing to transform 30 blocks in Allendale from the neighborhood’s most dangerous to its safest. Through achievements such as a new corner store, a community garden, and fostering a generation of emerging leadership, Allendale Strong has had a demonstrable impact on the community, with the local crime rate having dropped by 82% since their founding.

For more information:

Allendale Strong makes special presentation to planning commission, KSLA, May 2023

Letters: I-49 extension would bring destruction, not prosperity,, March 2023

A Highway That Doesn’t Exist Is Strangling a Black Neighborhood, Bloomberg, February, 2023

Letters: Pedestrian Safety is Vital,, January 2023

Cedric B. Glover: An open letter to Biden on the infrastructure bill, The Shreveport Times, November 2021

Highways destroyed Black neighborhoods like mine. Can we undo the damage now?, The Washington Post, August 2021

Why More Highway Spending Won’t Rev Up the Economy, The Wall Street Journal, July 2021

Can Removing Highways Fix America’s Cities?, The New York Times, May 2021

They Want to Put a Highway in Lead Belly’s Backyard, The Wall Street Journal, January 2021

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart Sinclair

Stewart L. Sinclair is a writer, editor and educator from Ventura, California. His essays, reportage and narrative nonfiction have appeared in Guernica, The Millions, The Morning News, The New Orleans Review, Creative Nonfiction’s “True Story” series and elsewhere.


Dorothy Wiley, President


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Climate Impacts

Drought, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Heat

Environmental Justice Concerns

Air Pollution, Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Noise/Light Pollution, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise


Art Activism, Community Farm/Gardens, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Community Organizing and Education, Legal/permit challenges to development, contamination, pollution, etc, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform

501c3 Tax Deductible


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