Beverly Wright, Ph.D.

Community Health Leaders
Special Gulf Coast Award

Area(s) of expertise:
Environmental justice

Leader’s Biography 2006:
Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University
Shortly before Hurricane Katrina, Wright’s mother and only brother died. Then the storm destroyed her home and office. Wright looked beyond her personal tragedy and loss, and focused instead on the environmental issues that threatened low lying areas, and the health of the mostly minority and low-income people who live there. In early 2006, she initiated a project that involved collaboration with the United Steel Workers Union and with volunteer, faith-based, and neighborhood organizations. It was a pilot clean-up effort on Aberdeen Road in New Orleans East, and over 180 volunteers showed up for training and work. Tainted soil was safely removed from each yard and replaced with new topsoil and sod as part of the “A Safe Way Back Home” project. It resulted in a cleaner street, the return of residents, and many requests from other communities for a similar program.

Where this Leader can be reached today:
Founder and Executive Director
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University
2601 Gentilly Blvd., DUICEF Bldg, Suite 227
New Orleans, LA 70122
Phone: (504) 816-4511

Dr. Wright lost everything—her home, her mother’s home, and her center— but Hurricane Katrina did not put her on the canvas; she came out swinging.


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