Jean Brainard Boebel Endowed Professor of Historic Preservation    Assistant Professor, Department of Planning & Urban Studies    University of New Orleans (UNO) /

Jean Brainard Boebel Endowed Professor of Historic Preservation

Assistant Professor, Department of Planning & Urban Studies

University of New Orleans (UNO) /

Ph.D. in Urban Planning, Harvard University (Planning History; Risk & Resilience)

M.S. Architecture Studies, MIT (Architectural History and Technology)

B.S. Civil Engineering & Architecture, Columbia University


A practitioner and professor of urban design, planning and preservation, I research and realize equitable adaption of built environments to new uses and users, risks and hazards. I investigate chronic risks and acute hazards to flood-prone communities and commercial spaces, including inequities of urban design and suburban development, past and present with community leaders and stakeholders as well as students and scholars.

At UNO, where I teach urban design, planning and preservation, I research chronic risks and acute hazards to cultural heritage and community resilience. These investigations of disinvestment and disasters focus on public funding models, private development practices and philanthropic aid for housing rehabilitation, infrastructure repair and landscape maintenance. I introduce students to both planning and preservation consulting through research projects and design courses required for the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and the Graduate Certificate in Historic and Cultural Preservation. Together, we strategize and support hazard mitigation programs and historic preservation plans for flood-prone communities, which disproportionately house low-to-moderate income households and low-margin businesses.

An urban design practitioner and professor since 2008, I also engage in plan making, policy analysis, program evaluation, design review and planning research. I have served on numerous design juries and plan review committees and I currently serve on the boards of conservancies and community-based organizations (e.g. HousingNOLA, Louisiana Landmarks Society). Prior to starting my own consulting practice (now incorporated as Studio RxP), I worked for multidisciplinary consulting firms such as HNTB Architecture, DMJM Harris and Hector Design Services with architects, landscape architects, urban designers and structural engineers. My work with their public-sector clients included Planning and Design Guidelines, Historic Structures Reports, Cultural Resources Management Policies and Disaster Mitigation Plans for critical infrastructure (e.g. LaGuardia Airport). I developed additional expertise in the early- and mid-century modern architecture of highway, bridge and airport authorities while working for research consultants and clients, Ochsendorf DeJong and the Smithsonian Division of Architectural History and Historic Preservation. The nonprofit partners and philanthropic sponsors of public authorities in planning and preservation became the focus of my dissertation for the Ph.D. in Urban Planning.

I am also a working mother who advocates for diversity, inclusion and equity in the fields of planning, design and preservation. I serve on Alumni Council and the Advisory Board for an African American Design Nexus of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), where I once co-organized the first Black in Design conference, the Design Politics symposium and other activities highlighted in the traveling exhibition Now What? Advocacy, Activism and Alliances in Architecture since 1968. I now advise and mentor students in the New Orleans students chapter of APA, contribute to AIA Women in Architecture programming in New Orleans, and serve on working committees of organizations that shape the built environment (HousingNOLA, Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority).