Broadmoor is an architecturally, economically and racially diverse neighborhood largely defined by the impressive early- and mid-20th-century homes that line Napoleon Avenue and Fontainebleau Drive. But there is a variety of architecture throughout the neighborhood, from shotguns and Arts and Crafts-style bungalows to grand Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial-style estates. The Rosa Keller Library branch, with a historic brick façade and Spanish tile roof, has an ultra-modern addition, showcasing the different styles one can see amongst Broadmoor’s nearly 800 historic structures.
Development in the area began in the 1880s when the land was still marshy pasture. After heavy rains, the area would flood, becoming a huge lake — a favorite fishing spot for Uptowners at the time. Drainage projects began in 1885, including the construction of Pumping Station No. 1 at S. Broad Street and Washington Avenue. (The station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.) The neighborhood’s building boom took place in the 1920s, and by 1930, Broadmoor had its own newspaper, The Broadmoor News.
The Broadmoor Civic Improvement Association formed around that time, making it one of the first neighborhood associations in the city. The opening of the Chevra Thilim Synagogue on S. Claiborne Avenue and Jena Street in 1948 attracted a large Jewish population to the area. It has since closed, but Broadmoor still has a healthy mix of residents from all walks of life with diverse religious backgrounds. The neighborhood is especially attractive to families, as many homes have yards and off-street parking.
This community was devastated by the levee failures that followed Hurricane Katrina and many officials were in favor of abandoning the neighborhood altogether. Broadmoor residents rose up, however, and defeated those plans. Today, the neighborhood is once again thriving, with an active community center, new restaurants and a well-traversed fitness and arts trail along Napoleon Avenue.