A Steady Comeback
Kingswood subdivision's renovated homes, energy efficiency and community camaraderie
The New Orleans population expanded into the East in the 1960s, and the area became the host of family-friendly and community-minded neighborhoods that we see today. Each subdivision has its own identity and homes built in a variety of architectural styles. The Kingswood Subdivision development began in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and today stands out as one of those unique and desirable places to reside.
Since 2005, the Kingswood Subdivision has made a tremendous comeback. Kingswood’s residents are loyal; most pre-Katrina residents returned home for its character and unbeaten charm. One such resident is Melanie Thomas, a New Orleans native who has lived in New Orleans East for 19 years. She is so passionate about the neighborhood that she also happens to be the president of the Kingswood Improvement District Association, a volunteer position and a labor of love that she has taken on for the past two years.
Thomas said that her duties include implementing neighborhood stabilization initiatives along with promoting a “beautiful, safe, healthy and clean environment for residents and pets,” she said. She also works to develop and sustain effective drainage infrastructure for the area.
Thompson estimates that at least “90 percent of the homes in Kingswood are back.”
Much of the steady comeback comes from the sense of community that has long been a crucial part of the neighborhood’s identity. Currently, 340 homes in the subdivision have been renovated and repaired post-storm.
“There is no new construction; the homes are renovated, often with modifications and updates,” she said. Thomas hopes the subdivision will expand and add new constructions to accommodate its growth and continued improvement in the upcoming years.
“We are always looking for projects and initiatives to improve our community,” said Thomas.
“We have added a front entrance median to add beautification to the subdivision entry, and solar lighting along the pre-cast fence.”
Plans for the future also include installing pet-friendly waste stations throughout the subdivision.
Some of the popular neighborhood attractions include an eight-acre park, which has a solar shelter; a walking path; a baseball diamond; a KaBoom! Playground built by volunteers around 2006; and a basketball court.
“It is family-friendly. People are very friendly, and they support each other. Kingswood families are a true testament to what neighbors are,” said Thomas.
Though the neighborhood has a distinct identity, Thomas said it’s accessible and draws in residents of other communities, as well.
“It’s the most desirable and affordable place for working families to live, play and relax,” she said, adding that it is also in proximity to several private and public schools.
Even with its growth, the subdivision remains very quiet, almost a “country” feeling; you can hear nature around you, which is something residents appreciate.
The homes in Kingswood are easy to maintain, mostly built out of brick and are energy-efficient with a high federal energy-efficiency rating.
Ultimately, she said, “We want people to feel they have made the right choice to raise their families here.”
The Kingswood Subdivision rests just off of I-10 and boasts 97-percent of its population being homeowners. Residents invest in the area’s prosperity. Members of the community cherish Kingswood for its peaceful, friendly and welcoming neighborhoods, and describe the area as quiet and family friendly with clean, well-maintained parks.
Pictured: Melanie Thomas, President of the Kingswood Improvement District Association.