Dot Marks the Spot

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By the time I saw the Times Picayune’s front page on January 11, 2006, I was already prepared for the worst. At the time, my family and I had become part of the New Orleans nomads — moving from Uptown to the French Quarter (we were lucky because so many didn’t have these kinds of options) — so my wife could keep her new business afloat and we could stay in the city. We had lived in Broadmoor and we had already started to rebuild our home.

The month before, the Urban Land Institute had made its recommendations to the city and they included a map, which had a green dot drawn around Broadmoor. This indicated that ULI suggested that Broadmoor become a possible future green space, a euphemism for a drainage park. My wife and I decided to continue rebuilding anyway, figuring the city would never agree to destroy our neighborhood. Then on January 11, the Times Picayune printed the Bring New Orleans Back report, which also included a map with a green dot around Broadmoor.

As I first wrote about the green dot back in 2006, Broadmoor didn’t take the news lying down. Within a few days, the neighborhood responded to the report with a crowd of 300 Broadmoorians gathered on the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground, letting city leaders know that “Broadmoor Lives!” It was the beginning of Broadmoor’s comeback and it was something I was lucky enough to be a small part of. Our small community demanded and succeeded (despite what ULI thought) in getting a seat at the table when it came to deciding our future. Like so many other neighborhoods in this city — there are at least 73 neighborhoods in New Orleans and they all now have a fierce self-awareness — Broadmoor continues to rebuild, grow and will be better than ever.

This Saturday, Broadmoor will celebrate the two-year anniversary of the “Dot.” At 3:45 p.m. at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Center, a brass band will lead a short parade back to the neutral ground on the 3700 block of Napoleon Ave, where it all began. There will be a green dot cake and folks are encouraged to wear a dot or two on their person. After all, it was partially due to the dot that Broadmoor that rose up and told the bureaucrats that they couldn’t turn our neighborhood into a drainage ditch.

As one local newsman later told me: “If you really want to spark a neighborhood to rebuild, just draw a green dot around it and tell them they can’t come back.”

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