Developing Broadmoor

May 8, 2014

Standing in Broadmoor, with a view of the Superdome in the distance and the Andrew Wilson Charter School across the street, is a newly renovated home ready to be rented.

“It’s a beautiful bright yellow and peach colored elevated duplex with the original ironwork, a nice big porch, and a little yard,” says Diana Searl, the director of program operations with the Broadmoor Development Corporation.

The BDC’s job is to make the Broadmoor neighborhood healthier, and one way they do this is by renovating homes.

The home I’m looking at belonged to a family who didn’t want to return after the storm. The house made its way from the Louisiana Land Trust to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and eventually to the Broadmoor Development Corporation.

“Because we got historic tax credits we were able to keep a lot of the historic features,” says Searl. This molding was original. The glass paneled doors are original. The windows were all original and rehabbed. All the trim and the case work that you’re seeing were original to the house. I think the floors are original to the house. They were sanded and stained and buffed, and they look beautiful.”

The house has two apartments, and they’re both available for renters who make no more than 120% above the area median income.

“With school across street, with Oschner right down the road, this would be a great place for teachers or other school administrators or nurses,” Searl says.

In other words, it’s for working people.

“Part of the neighborhood goal is to stabilize the areas that have been historically weak,” says Keith Johnson, the Broadmoor Development Corporation’s treasurer. He says on the other side of Napoleon Avenue in Broadmoor, the comeback has been easier.

“It’s been very robust. Normal investors have come in, remodeled properties, they’ve brought beautiful historic homes back to their former glory. People are living in them and life is great. On this side it’s been more challenging.”

Diana Searl says after Katrina, when the Broadmoor Improvement Association put its goals and visions in writing, they created the Broadmoor Development Corporation to build back better than before.

“So building back elevated off the ground, so you mitigate your flood risk. Building in a way that’s environmentally conscious and sustainable, so that the people who are living in these units are paying lower energy bills than another unit that you may lease down the street — both because that’s been Broadmoor’s intention post-Katrina, but also with the help of those Federal dollars, that’s a standard that we’re required to meet.”

Renovating this one house and getting it back into commerce is part of the Broadmoor Development Corporation’s mission: to increase the quality of life for existing Broadmoor residents, by reducing blight and attracting new families who will live, work, and play in Broadmoor. They’re small steps in the big job of New Orleans’ comeback.

Written by Eve Abrams for the Community IMPACT Series and produced by WWNO in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation. 

Learn more about Broadmoor Development Corporation.