The Healthy Block Initiative on St. Ann Street
A collaborative project between the Urban Conservancy, Green Light New Orleans, SOUL (Sustaining Our Urban Landscape), Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, with project assistance from Adaptation Strategies and funding from the Allianz Foundation.
The 2700 block of St. Ann Street presents an exciting opportunity to address serious localized street flooding issues, in a neighborhood that frequently floods after rain events, while creating a learning lab spanning an entire city blockface illustrating ways that residents can, indeed, live with water. Through this multi-partner collaboration, we incorporated a wide range of stormwater interventions on private lots and public rights of way including paving removal and the installation of permeable paving, rain gardens, trees, and rain barrels. This also provided the partners an opportunity to develop a strong working relationship and a model for collaborative fund-seeking in order to replicate this approach to problem-solving through community education and skills-building. We also developed co-branded materials including educational signage that can be used as templates for future joint efforts.
The block is a perfect location for this intervention not only because of its vulnerability to localized flooding during heavy rainfall, but also because both Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO), Green Light New Orleans, and the Urban Conservancy already have well-established relationships there through past and current programming. YRNO is a nonprofit that teaches students building trades by rehabbing blighted properties and giving preference to educators to purchase homes has been working on the block for four years. They have established strong relationships with residents in the surrounding neighborhood by providing pro bono assistance on small home repair projects. In addition, there is an Front Yard Initiative participant on the block who can serve as a “living with water” ambassador and several others within close proximity.
Total Project Cost: $18,000
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by collaborators on Jan. 31, 2018
Project Dates spanned February 1, 2018 – February 1, 2019.
This project included the following Green Infrastructure demonstrations:
- Permeable paving installation;
- Rain barrel installation on the Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO) properties, and other properties on surrounding blocks;
- Additional paving removal on YRNO properties; and
- Improved tree canopy.
Scope of Work
The Urban Conservancy:
- Served as project manager;
- Conducted weekly planning meetings with team;
- Promoted and coordinated 1021 square feet of paving removal in the neighborhood;
- Coordinated TRUEGRID donation;
- Purchased gravel and any other materials and/or equipment necessary for TRUEGRID installation;
- Facilitated green sector connections for work in the area; and
- Documented the entire process.
- Coordinated the planting of 15 trees in and around the 2700 block of St. Ann and on neighboring blocks. Specifically:
- Trained block captains;
- Created printed materials for distribution;
- Permitted all applications through Parks and Parkways;
- Selected and ordered trees; and
- Coordinated planting events.
- Installed 10 rain barrels. Specifically:
- Laid sand or rubber material to level the ground where the barrels were installed;
- Laid pavers on the ground to elevate the barrel;
- Drilled a hole in the downspout of the gutter system.
- Attached a rainwater diverter and connector hose to the gutter and barrel.
- Designed, created, and installed educational signage on the block explaining the multiple benefits the GI installations provided.
- Had gutters and downspouts installed so that rain barrels could be attached;
- Rented dumpsters;
- Supervised youth in paving demolition and removal as well as permeable paving installation; and
- Purchased native plants for rain gardens Muhley grass, Gulf Coast yuca, blue iris, butterfly milkweed.
We believe partnership and the sharing of resources leads to success! Urban Conservancy, SOUL, Green Light, and Youth Rebuilding New Orleans collectively provided the area surrounding the 2700 block of St. Ann with rain barrels, trees, depaving, and permeable pavement at low cost while creating green sector training opportunities.
10 rain barrels installed
15 trees planted
1021 SF of paving removed
500 SF TRUEGRID installed
25 green sector trainees
633 volunteers educated
Over 3000 additional gallons of water stored onsite per rain event
A collaborative project with Green Light New Orleans, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, and the Urban Conservancy. With funding from the Allianz Foundation and project assistance from Adaptation Strategies.