The Wilson School is slated for rebuilding in Broadmoor, where the residents decided education should be the central and distinguishing concept around which they rebuild the neighborhood.
"New Orleans' Broadmoor is Model for Disaster Recovery"
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
Author: Traci Farrell, Former Communications Assistant
The intense storm that hit the northwestern United States in December of 2007 devastated the mountain timber town of Vernonia, Oregon with landslides and floods that forced the evacuation of most of the town of 2500. Luckily, Ariana Tipper, a graduate student at Portland State University (PSU), had spent the previous summer in New Orleans as an intern for the Belfer Center’s Broadmoor Project. Using the recently published Broadmoor community recovery guide as a model, Tipper organized a team of PSU students to help Vernonia residents in their recovery effort.
Vernonia was the first community outside of New Orleans to take advantage of the
“Broadmoor Guide for Recovery Planning and Implementation,” the practical handbook designed by the Broadmoor Project for just that purpose. The guide —a collaboration of the Belfer Center and Kennedy School and the New Orleans’ community of Broadmoor —was developed to provide “a nationally recognized model for how to implement an effective and efficient recovery management strategy.” San Francisco officials have also met with Broadmoor leaders for ideas on responding to a disaster.
The Broadmoor Project began when students from the Kennedy School traveled to New Orleans in 2006 to help residents of the hard-hit Broadmoor neighborhood with a strategy for recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The project was launched by Doug Ahlers, a senior fellow with the Belfer Center and a New Orleans resident. The Belfer Center’s Henry Lee is faculty chair for the Broadmoor Project.
The Broadmoor Project recently hosted a Neighborhood Leadership Forum series to share Broadmoor’s work with neighboring communities in New Orleans. The three forums focused on data collection and recovery management information systems, best practices in neighborhood revitalization, and establishing private-public partnerships.
The forums were not meant to be dialogues or discussion, said Ahlers. They were hands-on sessions, he said, “where community leaders and residents could leave with skills, ideas, and resources, and then implement real initiatives in their neighborhoods.”
Broadmoor today is a success story that has gained national attention. In addition to bringing back many of its pre-Katrina residents, Broadmoor has developed the plans and funds to build a community center, library and school, according to Sarah Bieging of the Belfer Center’s Broadmoor project. Recently, the community launched the Broadmoor Community Development Corporation (BDC) which has been working with volunteers to build new homes. The BDC also has implemented the Broadmoor Case Management System, a database that monitors residents’ needs and pair volunteers with the skills to meet those needs. Developed by project intern Suzanne Hague, it enables the BDC to quickly send needed items like furniture to one family and plumbers to another.
With the continued revitalization of the Broadmoor neighborhood, and the implementation of the model elsewhere, the Broadmoor model is proving to be an effective recovery strategy.
“Broadmoor is proud to be serving as a model for other communities recovering from disaster,” said Ahlers. “It is the proverbial silver lining.”
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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