Boulder Building New Orleans

A little over a year ago Amy and I had a discussion about how we could directly contribute to rebuilding New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  We have made financial contributions and underwritten several trips of students to the city, but we were looking for something tangible to do.

A close friend and nationally known architect – Coleman Coker of buildingstudio – told us of a project he was working on with his colleague Jonathan Tate to build high quality, low cost housing in New Orleans.  He connected us with the folks at the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans a New Orleans based non-profit that helps first time home buyers.

BbnohouseAfter a little study, we determined that for $50,000 we could provide a high quality house for a family based on Coleman’s design (approximately 900 sq. ft.)

As a result, we’ve put together a program in conjunction with the Community Foundation Serving Boulder Country that we call Boulder Building New Orleans.

To date, we have raised a little over $40,000.  Amy and I are covering all administrative costs of the program so 100% of the donations are going toward the house.  On the second anniversary of the land fall of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Amy and I thought we’d put together a final push to get the $50,000 raised for this project.

If you are inclined, please consider making a donation to Boulder Building New Orleans.  You don’t need to be from Boulder to do this – you’ll be part of helping our extended community provide a new house for a family in New Orleans.  Any amount helps – electronic donations can be made in amounts as little as $10.  While it might not seem like a lot, it’ll be life changing for the folks that end up living in the house.

  • Brad, I’m wondering what motivates you to help rebuild housing in a flood area?

    I love New Orleans. It’s my favorite vacation spot. I’ve been there 6 or 8 times, more frequently than any other non-work travel destination. But I can’t help but feel like philanthropy and tax dollars are better spent on more permanent housing solutions. Isn’t this making it artificially cheap to live in a place that simply isn’t a good choice to live?

    I know it’s a provocative question, but it’s an honest one. I’ve been wrestling with it since before Katrina even came.

  • It’s a challenging macro question. Billions of tax payer money has already been spent on this (and much more will be) so the decision to do this has already been made. I expect that the numbers would be even higher if a major event (earthquake?) devastated the bay area.

    In my case, I’m trying to help under the umbrella of a decision that’s already been made. I believe this particular house is situated in an area that is not directly in the flood region (although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not sure what that means – I’m relying on the architects – who I trust.) In addition, it’s a high quality house (rather than a cheap thing that’ll get destroyed in a major storm.)

    I’ve pondered this plenty and don’t have a good answer to the question, other than I think this is one of the most impactful ways that I can help individual families in New Orleans.

  • Did you see the fellow (Carlos Reid) on American Inventor that was creating a new way to build housing out of plastics? It was quite inspiring. It would be interesting to know more about the construction of the home.

    This is a great cause having seen friends displaced, animals displaced, and the damage to their emotional state, anything I can help out with is wonderful.

    Are you going to update how close you are to the goals over time?

  • @Micah – yes.

  • coleman coker

    To Dan Dunn