by Dana Brown, FASLA, PLA, AICP, LEED AP
The 900-acre Pontilly area of New Orleans is composed of two moderate-income, minority-majority neighborhoods—Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods. For decades, these neighborhoods have repeatedly experienced losses due to flooding and both were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina with hundreds of homes destroyed.
In response, the neighborhoods collaborated to form the Pontilly Disaster Collaborative (PDC) that seeks solutions to localized flooding issues caused by rainfall events. PDC approached the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), who had received ownership of many residential properties in Pontilly following Katrina, to utilize vacant lots for managing stormwater. A landscape architect at NORA recognized the value of the community organization’s idea and began seeking funding through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Continue reading