1 Feb 2015
Our first stop is a few miles outside the French Quarter, in Broadmoor, which lies on some of the city’s lowest ground. For this tight-knit community, a galvanizing moment occurred when the city’s first rebuilding commission suggested that many of its 2,400 storm-damaged homes be razed to make room for drainage.
Almost immediately, “Broadmoor Lives” signs sprouted from torn-up lawns and a protest rally was organized. “We said, there’s no way they’re going to make us a retention pond,” recalls Kelli Wright, president of the Broadmoor Improvement Assocation. “We were going to come back and be better than before.” Almost a decade later, with help from grants, the community is creating a world-class education corridor in the heart of the community.
A few blocks away, we meet Lex Kelso, a principal with local developer Green Coast Enterprises, at Propeller, a social entrepreneurship incubator. The concrete-floored loft space is one of four dilapidated buildings nearby that Kelso’s firm has transformed into energy-efficient symbols of hope. “Our goal is to turn this into a vital commercial node,” he says. “There’s a real excitement here.”