By Ryan Velez
Tyrone Legett played many games in the Superdome as a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints, but a Blackboot article now covers his new passion: supporting the community in his second home of Louisiana. Legett is a native of Columbia, South Carolina, but after his career with the Saints ended, he chose to stay in Louisiana, mainly to help others. “I saw a need here and I wanted to help provide solutions.”
Wisely, Legett noticed that the biggest area where he saw a potential for impact was how people are living. “64% of the residents were renters and most of the jobs were service jobs. Without a realistic path, many of these hardworking people would never be able to own homes. They deserved to own their homes,” he said. To this end, he started Legett Construction with the aim to not only build income housing but help people qualify for the homes. By sharing his ideas via the Community Reinvestment Act, Legett started a partnership with Whitney Bank. Together, they have built homes all over the Greater New Orleans Metro and Baton Rouge. They also have contracted other minority-owned construction companies to share in the work.
“Mr. Legett is not just building homes. His commitment is much deeper than that. Working for him, I have learned his greater passion is rebuilding Black families,” said Joyce Burges, Leggett Construction Administrative Assistant. “He gets it. The consequences of poverty and the stronghold of financial debt. He is on a mission to help people turn their lives around,” she said. Burges was a former City Councilwoman in Baker, LA, but was so moved by Legett’s vision, she decided to work with him rather than pursue another term.
This same vision led Legett to take another leap of faith: opening the only Black-owned grocery store in Baton Rouge, in a primarily Black area that was often underserved. However, he explains that his vision is not just about building and opening stores, but helping keep family units intact. “I am committed to rebuilding families by helping them consolidate debt. If you’re saving $200 per month by paying a mortgage instead of rent and saving another $100 a month or more by buying more affordable foods for your family it frees up money which can either be invested into entrepreneurship or into quality family activity.” Legett’s next plan is to open up a quality senior living facility, tackling another major source of expense for families all over the country: elder care.