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Day 628: Spotlight On Broadmoor

Broadmoor, its neighborhood association president, LaToya Cantrell, and Andrew H. Wilson Elementary School were featured on NPR’s All Things Considered last evening, the third in a three-part series on New Orleans schools. Due to 20 months of abject neglect and vandalism, Andrew Wilson sits empty while Recovery School District officials cite the lack of classroom space as one of the reasons to bus students to schools outside their community. Friend, Project Gutenberg executive director and Illinois resident, Michael Hart, has been following the plight of schools and government corruption here in Louisiana since the Federal Flood and has this to say about education and recovery in New Orleans:

New Orleans residents are up in arms that their schools are still unprotected from people who come in as squatters and/or thieves — some schools are being worked on by local residents who don’t see the cure as bussing their children to other neighborhoods, they’d rather see their own neighborhood school rebuilt … but not even one nail has been applied via all the billions of dollars in aids that the contractors get, but rarely seem to hit neighborhoods.

Broadmoor is just one example where a school’s second floor has a workable set of classrooms, but nothing has been done about first floor cleanup, other than by the local volunteers. Neighborhoods with more resources don’t seem to have the same trouble getting a lot of additional resources. “Money flows to money” they say — and this seems to be a perfect example.

A serious movement is afoot to put pressure on to at least START! renovation projects on the last of these neighborhoods when doing the memorials on the next anniversary of Katrina.

Some ask how many such anniversaries must be endured before their own neighborhoods get attention.

Others ask how many such anniversaries must be endured before the people in New Orleans’ poorer neighborhoods just go away.

The rich are still getting richer. The poor are still getting poorer. And the tax man is helping.

Search: Katrina, Broadmoor, Latoya, and possibly NPR for more.

After all the insults-passing-as-journalism that this city is forced to endure, Michael’s views are supportive and insightful. For someone who lives in the middle of Illinois and hasn’t really discussed New Orleans recovery with me, he really gets it. When I mentioned this to him, Michael replied, “It’s hard NOT to get it … and SOOO disgusting!!! I also wrote about “The Blue Roof” project where not even 1% of monies allocated ever even MADE it to the people doing the work.”

School vandalism in New Orleans includes the theft of copper tubing. NOLA-Dishu talks of one sad story, coincidentally from Broadmoor, in which a notorious copper thief was almost caught and the police neglected to file a report because the homeowner in question doesn’t live in town.

Broadmoor is a neighborhood I really respect from a civic standpoint – its organization (online and off) is a model and source of inspiration for neighborhoods anywhere attempting a difficult rebound from the edge of extinction. Along with the MidCity Neighborhood Organization, Broadmoor was one of the first neighborhoods to compile a comprehensive neighborhood recovery plan (goodness only knows where that document and its addenda have been shoved in the aftermath of UNOP). Unfortunately, this industrious and colorful neighborhood sits right in the middle of the bowl within the bowl that is New Orleans and is one of the sacrificial lambs of our new floodgate protection. Should the floodgates be deployed and/or the federally-engineered levees break again, Broadmoor is, in the words of our favorite bivalve, royally screwed.

Related Link – nola.com: Don’t sacrifice our homes to flooding

1 comment… add one
  • Varg May 18, 2007, 6:45 PM

    Whoa! This redesign is awesome! Bravo!

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