What can the world learn from New Orleans? This is the question we posed to Timolynn Sams, executive director of the Neighborhoods Partnership Network. Started after Hurricane Katrina, the organization works to facilitate neighborhood collaboration, increase access to government processes and information, and strengthen the voices of individuals and communities across New Orleans.
Empowering communities to improve their quality of life through neighborhood revitalization and civic processes is not only the mission of the Neighborhoods Partnership Network, but one of the priorities of the Open Society Foundations. As a member of the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance, a collaboration of groups working to make city government more transparent, the network is helping educate and organize residents to demand greater responsiveness and accountability in how government runs the city.
In the video clip above, Sams shares a simple lesson that resonates well beyond New Orleans: in times of crisis and rebuilding the surest investment we can make is in people.
In the five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the levees broke, residents have developed innovative approaches to tackling some of the city’s—and the nation’s—most persistent problems: criminal justice reform, unresponsive government, and racial and economic inequality. In recognition of these efforts, during the month of August the Open Society Blog shines a light on people and organizations in New Orleans bringing change from within one of the country’s most important cities. Read more posts in this series.