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New Grant Provides Funding For Green Infrastructure Projects

Several green infrastructure projects will be coming to New Orleans' most flood-prone neighborhoods thanks to an $86-thousand grant from the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Healthy Community Services, a local nonprofit, will use the grant money to build green infrastructure projects designed to collect stormwater - like rain gardens - in the 7th Ward and Treme, two areas that flooded heavily last year.

Angela Chalk is the executive director of Healthy Community Services. She announced the grant during a press conference at the Nora Navra Public Library. "It was overwhelming excitement," she said, "because these are two neighborhoods that are traditionally left out, and they're most vulnerable."

Vulnerable to flooding, in particular. For the past year, residents from those neighborhoods have been creating a wish list of projects they'd like to see. Some of the ideas are big and expensive - like paving city streets with special asphalt that lets rain seep through. Others are smaller, like planting trees.

In the next few months, residents will decide which projects to build first.

"It's all about empowering the residents in both communities so that they can decide for themselves and have a transparent process of how we want to handle repetitive urban flooding in the two neighborhoods," says Chalk.

The first round of projects will be built over the next year; residents will decide on future projects as more money comes in.

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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