“Thanks to the Urban Conservancy for this fantastic initiative. FYI is transforming water management one house at a time!”
“[Referring to the August 5, 2017 flooding] Thought you would like to know that our yard did beautifully yesterday!” Owners of a Broadmoor house that used to get 8 inches of standing water in their front yard after a hard rain before they participated in FYI.
Becky and Christopher
“I am so happy I heard about this program! After removing the concrete from my yard, I was able to walk in my yard during the rain without wearing boots for the first time since buying the house. Aside from the benefit of improved drainage, the yard looks so much nicer without all the concrete. Your process was very clear and easy to follow. You were tremendously helpful in answering any questions I had and guiding me along the way.”
“I feel like the FYI project and process was a huge success for me and everyone there was great to work with. I love the way my property looks with the greenery and the large variety of plants in the front and along the side of the driveway. I also believe my front area and front room of my basement have been flooding a lot less during rainstorms since I replaced the cement with grass.”
“My husband and I found the FYI program very easy to navigate! We received excellent feedback and friendly advice. We love everything about this program.”
“If you have water management issues on your property the FYI program is a no-brainer.”
FYI in the Press
FYI received a spotlight on WWLTV! In a video that aired on the August 28th evening news, our executive director, Dana Eness, and two FYIers, Kristy Hitchcock and Rob Owens, spoke about the importance of onsite water management and going gray to green during these increased instances of flooding.
WWLTV.com | 4WWL | August 2019
Dr. Aimee K. Thomas from the biology department at Loyola University New Orleans gave a shoutout to the Urban Conservancy and FYI on WWL First News with Tommy Tucker about living with water!
WWL.radio.com | WWL First News | August 2019
Rebuilding streets without green infrastructure won’t keep us dry Op-ed written by former FYI Project Manager, Felice Lavergne in collaboration with the Complete Streets Coalition. “We can all become stewards of the water by doing what we can to ‘slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in.’ If we do, a more hopeful and constructive spirit will permeate (pun intended) our city departments, universities, churches and workplaces.”
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | June 2019
Out to Lunch Our Executive Director, Dana Eness, talks with Seamus McGuire of Cicada and Peter Ricchiuti on Ricchuiti’s radio show Out to Lunch. “We’ve been here in New Orleans for 300 years. We wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t have the ability to adapt. But we don’t like change. We still reminisce about long-closed drugstores, bakeries, and supermarkets. And, 300 years later, we’re still on the brink of flooding when it rains for an hour.
“The Urban Conservancy is on both sides of this street. They want to keep things as they are, and they want change. They want you to support your local small retailer, and they want you to bust up the concrete in your yard and make a garden to help stop street flooding.”
Out to Lunch | It’s New Orleans | October 2018
New Orleans Floods with Heavy Rainstorms. Magnolias Could be Part of the Solution “So far, Front Yard has been able to clear over 25,000 square feet of pavement. That’s only half the square footage of a typical football field, but breaking it down by household, an average of 600 square feet of pavement has been removed from 43 homes.”
Nation Swell | August 2018
New Orleans: Ready Or Not? Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands WWNO interviews FYI Project Manager, Felice Lavergne about why homeowner level interventions are important for our city’s resilience. “New Orleans is a city that floods. Even a small storm can leave streets impassable. City officials say they’re working on solutions, but they’re also asking citizens to help out.”
WWNO | July 2018
“The Front Yard Initiative developed by the Urban Conservancy in New Orleans, is an incentive program that reimburses eligible homeowners $2.50 per square foot of paving removed – up to 500 square feet – for a maximum of $1,250. This reduces runoff, allows groundwater recharge, improves resiliency, and has a host of other benefits.”
Chicago Sun-Times | February 2018
“So instead of checking off her list of interior renovations she’d like to do, Gielic spent her time and money on redeveloping her front yard. ‘I could have redone my bathroom or got central AC, but I really wanted a nice garden” she said.
For assistance, Gielic applied to the Front Yard Initiative, a program of the Urban Conservancy which reimburses homeowners for ripping out concrete on their property and replacing it with green space to help stormwater management. Gielic removed 500 square feet of paving and was reimbursed $1,250 by the program.”
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | February 2018
“LifeCity announced the winners of its ‘Love Your City Awards’ on January 26. Local businesses were recognized for environmental and social justice achievements.
‘The Love Your City Awards are important for two reasons. First, they celebrate the incredible impact of often untold stories and unsung heroes already succeeding in this work,’ said Liz Shephard, the founder and CEO of LifeCity. ‘And secondly, they inspire us to dig deeper and innovate new ways of growing our economy while strengthening our community and environment.’’’
The Urban Conservancy took home the Stormwater Leadership Award.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | January 2018
“Rain poses a more regular threat than hurricanes in New Orleans – but it’s also an untapped asset.
“The concept of living with water rather than fighting against it is ‘becoming part of the common language’ says Dana Eness, executive director of the Urban Conservancy, a local nonprofit that has been involved in various educational efforts around stormwater management. Eness says her organization can’t keep up with demand for its Front Yard Initiative, a program administered with philanthropic support that pays homeowners to rip up concrete in their front yards and install water-loving plants and permeable materials in place.”
American Planning Association | January 2018
“This August, a freak rainstorm flooded some neighborhoods to levels not seen since Hurricane Katrina, a reminder of the mayhem water can inflict on a bowl-shaped city that lies below sea level. Hundreds of residents filed damage claims in the following week. Businesses reported thousands of dollars’ worth of damaged goods.
“But Lloyd and Renz’s home was unscathed by the August storm. That’s because a year and a half ago, weary of the constant flooding, they drastically overhauled their front yard with guidance from the Urban Conservancy, a local nonprofit that helps homeowners manage water sustainably through their Front Yard Initiative.
“‘The initiative is part of a broader effort to shift the way New Orleanians think about stormwater,’ explained Project Manager Felice Lavergne. ‘We need to slow it down, spread it out, absorb it into the ground, and the pumps should be our last line of defense,’ says Lavergne.
“In any iteration, the project is driven by one philosophy: You need to own your water.”
CityLab | October 2017
“In a flood-prone city that has a Sewerage & Water Board, a local levee board and the Corps of Engineers helping keep us dry, the Front Yard Initiative is a reminder that individual homeowners can and do play a big role in managing the water in their neighborhoods. The initiative pays homeowners $2.50 for every square foot of impervious paving they remove and replace with a surface that better manages water.
“There’s a certain helplessness that accompanies flooding, especially flooding of the variety that New Orleans experienced Saturday. You were forced to wait on the city’s pumps to do their job. But Dana Eness, Executive Director of the Urban Conservancy, suggested that we’re not as helpless as we can think. There are things we can do – beyond cleaning out the catch basins on our street – to mitigate the heavy rains that we are sure to get.”
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | August 2017