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2021 Field Trips

Day 1

1. Lake Borgne Surge Barrier

Flood Risk Challenges in Southeast Louisiana Discussion | Ricky Boyett, Chief Public Affairs USACE New Orleans.

Lake Borgne Surge Barrier

Throughout discussion, participants examined the pre-Katrina 16’ natural levees which were often breached by intense storms. The importance of urban planning was emphasized as the the city designing a new flood wall of 32’ built to withstand a 50 year storm. 

Greater importance was placed on gray infrastructure due to the nonexistent marshland, which typically acts as a barrier between the body of water and land.


2. Broad Street Pump Station

Water Drainage Management in NOLA Discussion | Bryant Dixon, Sr. City Planner SWBNO

SWBNO control room

The Sewerage and Water board of New Orleans (SWBNO) has their own power plant to help generate energy. All pumps are located on the lowest elevation throughout the city.

Their mission is to remove as much water out of the city as quickly as possible, with no retention or detention techniques. Despite their efforts, many New Orleans residents regularly experience flooding, demonstrating the need for alternative water management.


Day 2

1. Canoe Trip on Bayou St. John

History of Southeast LA, Deltaic Formation, & History of Nola Discussion | Dr. Bob Thomas + Dr. Aimee Thomas


New Orleans sits on the youngest part of mainland USA, dated at just 6,000 years old with no bedrock. Since 1718 New Orleans residents have managed the large amounts of water they receive annually through the use of gray infrastructure techniques like levees, dams and catch basins. 

2. Deutsches Haus

Gentilly Neighborhood Association Discussion | Walterine Eugene-Griffin and Charles Allen, Paris Oaks Community Association

deutsches haus

We discussed the unintended consequences of gray infrastructure in New Orleans. The idea of community was heavily emphasized when speaking on innovative approaches to managing water in New Orleans. Walterine and Charles encouraged us to know and utilize our political efficacy at the local and state levels in order to combat issues like flooding

Day 3

1. Stronger Hope Baptist Church

Green Infrastructure | Urban Conservancy + FYI Projects Discussion | Sam Commagere + Dana Eness

stronger hope

Drainage systems are easily overwhelmed due to the frequent storms and limited detention centers. The Front yard initiative focuses on implementing green infrastructure on private properties including pervious pavement, and indigenous plants. The goal for bioretention centers is to manage water where it falls.

2. Lafitte Greenway

Green Infrastructure, Lafitte Greenway, & Bayou St. John Connections Discussion | Dr. Aimee Thomas

lafitte greenway

Green infrastructure allows residents to enjoy the recreational elements of water. It is crucial to filter the body of water that connects to Bayou St. John which eventually leads to Lake Pontchartrain. 

3. New Basin Canal Lighthouse

Green Infrastructure & Water Quality Discussion | Kimberly Cooke, Education Coordinator Pontchartrain Conservancy


Kimberly Cooke described the possible health issues that can arise when surround by still water for long periods of time. The participants analyzed the land at Pontchartrain Conservancy to give possible improvements to their land to make it more sustainable.

Day 4

1. Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church

Empowering Communities Across Nola to Thrive | Chuck Morse, Executive Director Thrive Nola


Community nonprofits like Thrive NOLA invest significant time and resources into projects that benefit the community. Get involved in your neighborhood to help build a healthier and more informed community, including combatting flood risk in neighborhoods with less financial support.

Prepare for unintended consequences to move towards a resilient, more peaceful community.

2. Paul Habans Charter School

Habans Stormwater and Nature Center Discussion | Bryant Dixon & Grace Vogel, Sr. City Planners SWBNO and Spackman Mossop Michaels (SMM), an international landscape architecture firm in New Orleans

paul habans

This rain garden was intentionally planned with the use of indigenous plants at different elevations to correspond with the amount of water they can absorb. A rock path was included to act as a barrier and help reduce the speed the water drains into the garden. Habans rain garden is built to hold 90,000 gallons of water.  


Day 5

1. Pontilly Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Park

Pontilly Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Park| Dana Brown, Landscape Architect 


These parks are funded by FEMA, which is one of the first green infrastructure projects they funded throughout the country. Dana Brown discussed how native plants and microbes improve water quality providing the residents with clean water. Green infrastructure consists of open systems making it easier for maintain the land.

2. Mirabeau Water Garden

Mirabeau Water Garden | Ramiro Diaz, Waggonner & Ball 


The Mirabeau Water Garden is a 25 acre piece of land donated by the Congregation of St. Joseph to serve as recreational space, and education center all while detaining water and limiting the flooding events throughout the neighborhood. Using nature based solutions will aid in diverting runoff from the streets into the water garden alleviating the stress put on the traditional gray infrastructure systems.