Elected leaders were stirred to change the conditions following Hurricane Katrina to benefit the City’s youth, who had few options to engage in positive and healthy activities. An ordinance, creating the thirteen-member New Orleans Development Recreation Commission (NORD Commission) and the private 501(c)(3) New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation (NORD Foundation) to facilitate investment in its work, was approved by 74% of voters in October 2010.
The purpose of the NORD Foundation is to facilitate investment in NORD to provide equal access to quality recreational opportunities. Our work supports NORD's mission to advance the physical, mental, and social well-being of New Orleanians by providing safe and welcoming environments for recreational, athletic, and cultural experiences.
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In September 2017, NORD achieved national accreditation, the culmination of an arduous journey from post-Katrina dysfunction and achievement of an ambitious five-year goal set in our Boston Consulting Group strategic plan. Accreditation assures the public that NORD is implementing national best practices, meeting at least 151 benchmarks of quality. Only 1% of parks and recreation agencies in the country are accredited, and NORD is the second accredited system in Louisiana, after BREC in Baton Rouge.
Since 2010, the City has invested $170 million in Capital Project funds to triple the number of recreation centers, increase by 50% the number of active (staffed) playgrounds and grow to 16 aquatics facilities, including three year-round. We now have our first public skate park and our first public dog run!
Also since 2010, the City has tripled annual public funding for NORD to staff, operate and maintain its expanded infrastructure. In 2017, NORD was allocated funding to manage the Lafitte Greenway.
The NORD Foundation has raised $9 million for NORD programs and to outfit new and refurbished recreation centers and pools. We have a committed, diverse group of supporters.
As the Executive Director, Rebecca works closely with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, the CEO and executive staff of the NORD Commission, and the private and corporate community to facilitate investment in Orleans Parish public recreation programs.
She previously served as the Senior Advisor for Economic Development for Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City of New Orleans. Her prior experience includes serving as the member-manager of TwentyTwo Ten, L.L.C., a consulting business. Conwell spent 14 years at Tulane University, serving as executive director of state and local governmental affairs, chief of staff for the University president and interim executive director of the Cowen Institute. Conwell has a B.B.A. in Finance from Lamar University.
Larry Barabino, Jr. was selected to lead the NORD Commission on December 4, 2018. His previous experience includes having served as NORD Director from 2006 to 2009, helping NORD recover from Hurricane Katrina. Under his leadership, NORD reopened 90 playgrounds and play spots and 10 swimming pools, and began 23 construction projects. Barabino returns to NORD leadership from the Housing Authority of New Orleans. He pledges to improve facilities management and upkeep, engage leaders in the community, recruit more volunteer coaches, and improve programming. He looks forward to working with the NORD Foundation to strengthen and enhance investments in Orleans Parish public recreation. Barabino, Jr. took the helm at NORD on December 17, 2018.
Whitney National Bank
Ex-Officio - Chairman, NORD Commission
AJ Capital Partners
Eustis Commercial Mortgage
Lauricella Land Company
New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce
Partners N Crime