Neighborhood Spotlight: Broadmoor
By Green Coast on 15 Mar 2016
Neighbors looking out for neighbors.
That sums up what the Broadmoor neighborhood has been about for its more than a century-old history, and it is that credo that continues to serve the community, making it a model for resilience and improvement.
Putting that spirit into action comes in many forms, and, as Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) Executive Director Emily Wolff puts it, singles out the neighborhood.
“The idea of benefitting people directly is different,” says Wolff. “Like some other New Orleans neighborhoods, we have a parcel fee fund that our residents recently voted to renew. What separates us though is that we don’t use those funds to pay for private security patrols that may or may not work. Instead, we use the money to positively impact people’s lives with numerous free programs at the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center and our new Arts & Wellness Center.
That can-do spirit became evident during the days following Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, which decimated Broadmoor. Almost immediately, BIA began organizing residents, forming committees and eventually writing a plan that served as the cornerstone of the neighborhood’s recovery. Part of the plan called for a community health clinic, and that drew the attention of Green Coast.
“Under then BIA President LaToya Cantrell’s leadership, a federally-funded health survey was conducted in Broadmoor and surrounding neighborhoods, and the results were alarming,” says Green Coast Principal Will Bradshaw. “Because of a dearth of available care, people were dying from chronic diseases at four times the national average, and we knew a health clinic could make an incredible difference.”
Working with BIA, the South Broad Community Health clinic board, and others, Green Coast orchestrated an $8.7 million facelift of the Washington Avenue and Broad Street corridor, using a combination of public and private funds. Today, the corridor is flourishing with the South Broad Community Health clinic, Laurel Street Bakery, Propeller, IDIYA, and Green Coast’s offices.
“We recently acquired the building next door to our offices, so IDIYA is growing, Green Coast is expanding and we’re extending our commitment to the neighborhood,” says Bradshaw.
Likewise, Broadmoor continues to make progress in making the neighborhood better than before. BIA recently completed a blight mapping survey that showed the Broadmoor has 100 blighted properties, which is only 4.6 percent of the 2,241 properties in the neighborhood. In January, students from Upstate New York’s Bard College made their 20th visit to Broadmoor since 2006. The students volunteered to organize and run a survey of residents, researching how the neighborhood could become more resilient.
For Wolff, all this activity emphasizes the continued commitment that Broadmoorians have always felt towards each other and their neighborhood.
“We invest in initiatives such as crime camera installations and blight cleanups which keep our neighborhood safe,” says Wolff. “Simultaneously, we’re creating programs that give young people opportunities to learn something new in a safe and enriching place. Plus, we’ve been partnering with StayLocal to create the Broadmoor neighborhood guide, which should be coming out in late March.”
Wolff’s right. There is always something going on in Broadmoor, and with so much enthusiasm and grass roots organizing, residents can always expect more out of this powerhouse neighborhood.
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