– 12 ICONS OF NEW ORLEANS –
Selected by JPMorgan Chase
THE ICON: Kathy Laborde
THE LEGACY: When Kathy Laborde turned her efforts to New Orleans’ lack of affordable housing, it was never just about solving a problem of the present. Instead, she’s spent years working to provide residents of the city and the Gulf Coast with accessible housing options because it’s essential for the success and well-being of the next generation as well.
“It’s very important to me, because I believe in the future of the city, and I want my children – as well as all children in New Orleans – to be able to thrive,” Laborde remarks. “It’s as simple as that.”
As President and CEO of Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP), Laborde spends her days seeking to transform residential and commercial properties into opportunities for growth. These projects aim to provide city residents access to budget-conscious housing while enabling the creation of businesses that can help stimulate the region’s immensely diverse economies.
Laborde explains that New Orleans, in particular, has delivered ample housing opportunities for those with flexible budgets, but emphasizes that many city natives simply don’t have enough money to work with to secure such housing opportunities – and that’s why GCHP never falters in its work. Laborde believes that initiatives like those undertaken by GCHP can help pave the way for a future that’s more conducive to diversity, gainful employment and long-term growth than ever before.
The ultimate goal? To see today’s affordable housing provide the opportunities needed to help the people of New Orleans reach their full potential for years to come.
“Our mission begins with an understanding that capital solves a lot of problems,” Laborde explains. “But I think we continue to succeed because we’re good stewards of that capital, and because we try hard to ensure that the capital is reinvested in all of our neighborhoods – regardless of the income of those who are living there.
THE INSPIRATION: “It’s important that folks have access to housing that’s affordable. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or luxurious, but there are minimal quality standards that one would hope we, as a society, could deliver.”