New Orleans to revitalize economy & boost resilience by making friends with water

After decades of fighting water, New Orleans, Louisiana is going to embrace it.

Using a $141 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Orleans will radically alter the landscape of its Gentilly neighborhood to filter and retain stormwater, rather than banishing it.

The Gentilly Resilience District proposes to retrofit the area with a series of interventions to filter and store rainwater in public land, while helping private homeowners protect their property from runoff.

But the city wants these efforts to do more than manage water: they’re designed to simultaneously strengthen the fabric of the community and generate economic opportunities.

It’s huge—it’s really a down-payment on the future of the city,” says New Orleans Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert. And not just huge for Gentilly: “The way we designed our submission was to concentrate these efforts in one area of the city in order to prove its viability and then transfer it to other parts of the city.

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