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City Unveils Green Infrastructure Grant Program For Gentilly Residents

Pictured left to right: Councilman Jared Brossett, NORA Executive Director Brenda Breaux, NORA Board Chair Jim Singleton, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Councilwoman Helena Moreno.
Travis Lux
City officials annouced the grant program from an existing rain garden on Wildair Drive in Gentilly.

The city of New Orleans is launching a new program to help Gentilly residents install green infrastructure on their properties to absorb rain water.

In 2016, the city got more than $141.2 million to improve stormwater management through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’sNational Disaster Resilience Competition.

Some of that money will be used for big projects, like the Mirabeau Water Garden -- a 25-acre park designed to reduce flooding in Gentilly.

That will absorb a lot of water, but small projects help, too. Under the new Community Adaptation Program, the city will soon start issuing grants to qualified low- to moderate-income Gentilly residents to build green infrastructure at their homes.


The grants will be worth up to $25,000 and will be used to pay for architectural services, to tear up concrete, and to install things like rain barrels and rain gardens. The idea is to design spaces that absorb water on site, and keep it from washing into the street.


After a light rain Tuesday morning, officials made the announcement standing in a grassy lot in Gentilly -- a rain garden designed to absorb the summer downpours. Councilwoman Helena Moreno says the new program will help drainage.

“We can no longer just solely rely on a pumping system to be our only line of defense when it comes to flood water management,” she says. “So we have to start thinking outside the box and come up with new approaches and this right here is one of them”

The $5-million Community Adaptation Program will fund a couple hundred projects. On Saturday, the city will host a workshop to help residents sign up. It will be held at 10 a.m. at Dillard University’s Georges Auditorium.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Foundation for Louisiana.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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