Health care clinic targeted for Broadmoor area
16th June 2014 · 0 Comments
By Mason Harrison
A new health clinic in the heart of Broadmoor promises to bring affordable health services to an area—bordered by the former B.W. Cooper housing development; the Gert Town and Central City neighborhoods; and the Milan area—that has struggled for decades with poor health outcomes and access to care. By year’s end, Access Health Louisiana will operate its seventh community health center in the region when the Broadmoor location converts to a health clinic from its current use a child care center. Healthcare providers expect to be able to serve thousands of area residents each year regardless of their ability to pay.
On June 12, a handful of administrators from various public and private organizations gathered in a gravel-filled parking lot near Washington and Broad avenues for a ceremony to mark the grand opening of four revitalized buildings at the intersection, housing a new branch of the Laurel Street Bakery; a franchise of the San Francisco-based vegan eatery, known as 3 Potato 4; and the Propeller business incubator. Office space is also allocated for the Broadmoor Neighborhood Improvement Association and Green Coast Enterprises, the eco-friendly firm responsible for redeveloping one of the city’s busiest areas.
“It’s truly an amazing transformation,” Lex Kelso, of Green Coast Enterprises, said in a news release about the redevelopment. “Just two years ago, this was a desolate forgotten corridor and now, thanks to public and private investors, it’s exploding with businesses, commerce and more opportunities.” The intersection of Washington and Broad has been pegged has an area of high potential growth in the coming years, being among one of the most visited intersections of the city on any given day. “There are about 65,000 pairs of eyeballs that pass this area each day,” said Will Bradshaw, of Green Coast Enterprises. “That’s 65,000 opportunities for someone to see your product and decide to stop to take a look.”
At 3300 S. Broad, patients will soon have access to as many as five exam rooms and other features built in to the newly renovated 4,000-square foot facility designed to bring relief to an area inundated by floodwaters nearly 10 years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Broadmoor residents fought to rebuild and stay in their neighborhood after the storm and one of the area’s favorite champions was on hand to witness the celebration of the area’s renewal in the abbreviated span of just 24 months.
“I want to applaud all of those who have worked to make this happen,” said District “B” Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, who once led the Broadmoor Neighborhood Improvement Association and spearheaded efforts to repopulate Broadmoor after local authorities proposed to reduce the area to green space following Katrina. “You have done a fantastic job in making this a reality and helping this community has been your priority,” Cantrell said, as she named a number of individuals involved in the redevelopment process. Cantrell also chairs the City Council committee charged with overseeing health and human welfare.
But of all the projects located and slated for location in the area, the community health center will arguably have the most impact on local residents living in and around the Broadmoor area. Mark Keiser, the head of Access Health Louisiana, described the project as a collaborative effort among neighborhood groups. “[We have] been collaborating with Broadmoor, Hoffman Triangle, Freret, and other neighborhoods around the South Broad Street area, as well as with Green Coast Enterprises, in order to open ‘South Broad Community Health’ at the junction of Washington and Broad,” Keiser said in a statement. “It is scheduled to open later this year and provide services to all regardless of the ability to pay.”
A June 2012 survey of health outcomes in areas of New Orleans points to stark contrasts in healthy living between affluent areas of the city and moderate- to low-income neighborhoods. Majority Black communities like those in and around Broadmoor suffer from higher disease rates, shorter life spans, and higher rates of children born with low birth weights. In the report, dubbed “Place Matters,” researchers discovered residents in communities like Broadmoor have life expectancies that are seven to 10 years shorter than residents living in more affluent parts of the city, something developers of the project hope to remedy.
This article originally published in the June 16, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.