I attended the national Community Foundations conference in New Orleans this month, hoping to also get a chance to see some of the areas I had toured before, and see if progress had been made in the wake of the oil spill and Hurricane Issac. And of course have some good food!
The clear theme of the conference was the need for community foundations to offer leadership and support for community vision. And what better test of that then in New Orleans.
I stayed with the Johnson’s (thanks Ben and Barbara) in an area north of the universities, and saw a new area coming back…but I also saw the damage sustained after Issac and the high levels of debris that shut down the streets and destroyed power lines for days.
The affordable housing I had toured two years ago is now a large neighborhood, and one neighborhood group (the Broadmoor Community Corporation) has re-built the library and taken stock of mapping the community to strategically support various community development efforts as seen to the right.
There are young people starting new ventures, both non-profit and for-profit. One group–the Idea Village–invests in these emerging efforts.
The work being done is far from easy, but the outcomes can clearly be seen. The hurdles are not just money but structures, policies and laws. Despite the tough times, inspiration is there.