"A Katrina 5th Anniversary Success Story: Broadmoor"
Author: Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications
Five years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, one stand-out recovery success story is the neighborhood of Broadmoor and its unique collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School through the Belfer Center's "Broadmoor Project."
Broadmoor, the New Orleans neighborhood of 7,200 that was once under seven feet of water and experienced severe damage to more than ninety percent of its properties, has now brought back 84.5 percent of its homes and businesses. With the opening of a new $30 million LEED-certified charter school and construction underway on a fine arts and wellness center, and with ground being broken for a library/community center in a new "green" education corridor, Broadmoor has become a model of disaster recovery efforts for other neighborhoods, cities, and even countries.
In March 2006, only months after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the first Harvard students arrived in Broadmoor. Using skills they developed at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and other Harvard graduate schools, they went to work, assisting the long-standing Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA) in developing, documenting, and implementing a recovery plan that could also be used as a model for other neighborhoods working to meet a deadline set by the city for that spring.
The HKS-Broadmoor alliance was the brainchild of Doug Ahlers, a Belfer Center senior fellow who mobilized the Kennedy School and its students and established the Broadmoor Project within the Belfer Center. Directed by Ahlers, the project is overseen by Henry Lee, director of the Center's Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) who serves as faculty chair, and coordinated by ENRP's Amanda Swanson. HKS Assistant Academic Dean Carolyn Wood has worked closely with Ahlers and students to ensure the success of the Broadmoor project. For five years, with support from the Kennedy School community, Ahlers and BIA director LaToya Cantrell and other Broadmoor leaders have persisted, against daunting odds, to coordinate the redevelopment and revival of the neighborhood.
The Broadmoor-Kennedy School alliance has been successful, Ahlers says, because of the time, energy, creativity, and individual commitments of many individuals - students, staff, faculty, and administration - at the Kennedy School. "The project would never have worked without the support of Dean Ellwood and his office and without the commitment of Graham Allison and the Belfer Center, which took the lead on this."
For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.
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