Louella Hatch street co-naming honors Fordham activist

Louella Hatch street co-naming honors Fordham activist
Photo by Odette Scofield

A true community leader described as a resource and advocate for her neighbors was honored with a street co-naming.

Louella Hatch, a woman who had a legacy of service that spanned a lifetime, was honored with a street co-naming outside of the building where she lived since the early 1970s in Fordham on Wednesday, June 13.

The street corner in front of 2200 Tiebout Avenue at East 182nd Street was named after Hatch. It was unveiled as friends, family, community members and community leaders looked on.

Hatch was known in her community as the ‘mayor of Tiebout Avenue,’ according to multiple sources.

She hosted National Night Out Against Crime events, served as president of the 46th Precinct Community Council, started a play street and a block association, and held toy and clothing drives during the holidays, said friends and family.

“We’re here to celebrate a legacy of public service that spanned a lifetime,” said Torres in his remarks adding “When I think of Louella, the word that comes to mind is ‘happiness,’ and happiness, in the original sense of the word, did not refer to an emotion or a feeling; it meant the fullness and fulfillment of a life well lived.”

Torres said that he considered Hatch someone with a moral authority that only comes from a lifetime of public service.

Tisha Hatch-Loveless, Hatch’s daughter, said his mother grew up in Mobile, AL and was active in the civil rights movement, moving to New York when she was 18-years-old.

“She was always a firm believer in helping people who needed help,” said Hatch-Loveless. “That was something that was instilled in us.”

Hatch-Loveless said that her mom began her community activism by operating a food pantry where she gave out five-pound blocks of cheese and three-pounds squares of butter to anyone who needed help, regardless of whether the recipients were working.

This was at a time when there were strict requirements that prohibited working-poor people from receiving food donations, explained Hatch-Loveless.

She later began to provide assistance concerning housing and getting youth registered for summer jobs programs, said Hatch-Loveless.

Her daughter said she was one of the first people in the Bronx to host a National Night Out Against Crime event.

She also fought against bad landlords on behalf of senior citizens who were concerned about losing their homes until her passing in 2017, and her daughter said she would have been thrilled to have a street co-named in her honor.

“I really wish (she could see the street sign), even if it was just for five minutes,” said Hatch-Loveless when asked about what her mom would think of the honor.

One friend of Hatch, Rev. Kim Osorio, said that the NYS Chaplain Task Force made Hatch an honorary chaplain for her service to the community.

“Chaplains play different roles as advocates for people,” said Osorio, explaining that electeds and police officials said that Hatch “spoke the truth whether they wanted to hear it or not, if it was in the best interest of her community.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.