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LOUISIANA: Clinton Global Initiative makes commitment to New Orleans’ neighborhood

By Ann M. Ball
9/26/2006

The Episcopal Church of the Annunciation prior to Hurricane Katrina.  

 
[Episcopal News Service]  A "commitment announcement" to support the redevelopment plan created by the residents of New Orleans' Broadmoor neighborhood was made by Walter Shorenstein, Douglas Ahlers, Walter Isaacson, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York during the September 20-22 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York.

The group said it is committed "for local leadership and to leverage resources and expertise" in Broadmoor.

A partnership between the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, which is a major partner in the strategic redevelopment of the Broadmoor neighborhood in the heart of New Orleans, and several community-based organizations and corporations eager to assist in rebuilding, sparked interest from the Clinton Global Initiative.

The Clinton Global Initiative's goal in focusing on one neighborhood is to prove that a network of private and public partners can successfully come together to solve a major social problem.

The major players will include the Broadmoor Development Corp., New Orleans Broadmoor Improvement Association (BIA), New Orleans Conference Board, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Center for Business and Government, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (with the Coca-Cola Company, General Motors and Chevron), Digitas Inc., Church of the Annunciation, Mayor Gavin Newsom of the City and County of San Francisco, PlanReady Inc. of Morgan Hill, California, and Shell Exploration and Production Company.

Shorenstein is part of Shorenstein Properties, based in San Francisco. Ahlers is a fellow  at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. A New Orleans resident and business owner in New Orleans, Ahlers was appointed by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to his Bring New Orleans Back Commission's Economic Development Committee. Isaacson, a native of New Orleans, is the head of the Aspen Institute, and was the chairman and CEO of CNN and the managing editor of TIME magazine.

The initiative will:

  • bring resources to the rebuilding process, including financial support, in-kind services, materials and professional expertise;
  • develop supportive partnerships with the Broadmoor community to promote civic engagement and advance the redevelopment process;
  • foster cross-sector relationships that leverage resources, skills and learning from both the public and private sectors;
  • build and strengthen local leadership capacity through workshops and an annual leadership forum, and
  • share lessons learned with other post-disaster communities in New Orleans and beyond.

The Broadmoor neighborhood historically has been one of the most diverse in New Orleans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Broadmoor was flooded with eight feet of water, and its future seemed uncertain at best. Through the efforts of the BIA, hundreds of neighborhood residents joined together to revive and rebuild their community.

The BIA held its planning meetings at the Church of the Annunciation and continues to use its facilities as a base of operations for rebuilding in the neighborhood.

"Annunciation has nursed BIA since its beginning," reported Rusty Berridge, a BIA volunteer and now staff member at Annunciation. "It has been an integral part of the recovery effort in this area."

Hal Roark, Annunciation parishioner and executive director of the Broadmoor Development Corp., was pleased to learn of the CGI announcement.

"I'm happy that the Broadmoor Improvement Association was one of the programs to garner attention at Clinton's prestigious Global Initiative conference held in New York," Roark said. "The CGI is a private gathering of the world's movers and shakers, from the for-profit and non-profit worlds, focused on supporting best practice models around the world – and Broadmoor made the cut. We are deeply honored to be chosen and supported."

"There are 73 planning neighborhoods in New Orleans and Broadmoor is one of the first three to complete its comprehensive plan," said the Rev. Jerry Kramer, O.P. rector of the Church of the Annunciation. (Kramer is a member of the Anglican Order of Preachers)

The scope and detailed recommendations of Broadmoor's redevelopment plan serve as a model for other New Orleans neighborhoods as they seek to rebuild.