New Orleans residents treasure their neighborhoods, and each one of those 70+ communities has something unique to offer. Global Green has a history of working neighborhood to neighborhood in New Orleans to share best practices with residents so that their neighborhood can become more resilient. While the focus has been on energy efficiency, Global Green engages residents on water management through the use of green infrastructure.
Water Wise NOLA—Dana Brown & Associates Landscape Architects, Global Green, and Recharge NOLA— is an environmental outreach collaborative devoted to advancing and promoting green infrastructure and its associated benefits through education, events, tours, do-it-yourself workshops, demonstration projects and leadership training.
Water Wise is active in many neighborhoods in New Orleans educating residents and youth about green infrastructure: rain barrels, rain gardens, planter boxes, and bioswales. Water Wise Workshops provided participants with the knowledge and tips to go home and install these “do-it-yourself” green infrastructure practices. Outside of these workshops, Water Wise gets its hands dirty building rain barrels, installing rain gardens, removing concrete, and planting trees alongside members of the community. Together these green infrastructure practices reduce localized flooding, protect the water quality of Lake Pontchartrain and help beautify disinvested neighborhoods.
One of the neighborhoods that Water Wise has focused its efforts is the Treme Neighborhood of New Orleans, also known as the 6th Ward. Water Wise has partnered with Greater Treme Consortium, a community-based nonprofit that has been active in the Treme neighborhood for over 20 years. Phase 1 of the Water Wise Treme project was completed in 2017. 150 Treme residents participated in the Water Wise Treme Program through training, tours, outreach, and festivals. In September 2017, Water Wise Treme Neighborhood Champions developed its first ever draft of a green infrastructure priority plan for the Treme neighborhood. To demonstrate the effectiveness of green infrastructure, 518 sq ft of concrete was removed, 3 rain gardens and 1 planter box were installed, over 30 rain barrels were built by residents.
Water Wise also launched programming in the 7th Ward Neighborhood. Similar to Treme, this neighborhood is plagued by chronic flooding. In November 2017, the program began with Plant for Peace and it was a successful event of planting over 75 trees in the 7th Ward, along with adjacent Bunny Friend and Gentilly neighborhoods.
Water Wise continues to offer residents and small business owners a wide variety of workshops from lecture style to hands-on green infrastructure builds. Our vision is to continue working in these neighborhoods and expand to new neighborhoods where we advance community-driven green infrastructure planning and implementation. It is our ultimate goal for neighborhoods that are most threatened by climate change to become stronger, safer, and more resilient.