FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2015
Mary Beth Romig
Director of Communications
NORA OFFICIALS JOIN LEVEES.ORG AT RIBBON-CUTTING OF LEVEE EXHIBITION AND RAIN GARDEN
Site is a NORA-Owned Vacant Parcel near London Avenue Canal Breach
New Orleans, LA — Officials from the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) joined Levees.org leaders this morning at a ribbon-cutting celebrating the completion of a levee exhibition and rain garden in Filmore Gardens. James Singleton, Chairman of NORA’s Board of Commissioners and Councilmember Jared Brossett were also in attendance, as well as project partners from Filmore Gardens Neighborhood Association and Parkway Partners and residents from the surrounding area.
The site is built on a parcel that is part of NORA’s inventory, land rendered vacant after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The location, 5000 Warrington Drive, is at the east breach site of the London Avenue Canal. Levees.org is leasing the property from NORA through the Growing Green Program.
"Through NORA's Land Stewardship department we are proud to develop creative projects for alternative land use," said Jeff Hebert, NORA's Executive Director. "And this is possibly one of the most important uses of land left vacant after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as it honors lives lost and properties damaged, and at the same time recognizing the resilience of people who continue to drive our city’s recovery.”
Three yellow bricks from the original home that once stood at the Filmore Gardens location are part of the foundation at the site in tribute to the former owner Mr. Tom Lee who called the property home prior to the hurricanes.
The site features six (6) enormous exhibit boards housed in a 100-foot covered walkway. The text and forty (40) large photographs tell the story and dispel the myths of the flooding during the hurricanes.
The original design concept and rendering of the exhibition project was produced by the Lime Agency with sustainability in mind, and will provide shelter, shade and comfort in the summer months by permitting natural air flow rather than impeding it. In the winter months, there will be enough sun to warm the visitors, but not enough to damage the exhibits.
The garden will feature native plants and trees with a capacity to absorb large amounts of water, therefore helping to manage stormwater and reducing the load on the municipal drainage system. Native vegetation also minimizes maintenance requirements and reduces the need for fertilizer, pesticides and supplemental watering.
The landscape designer was Master Gardener Calla Victoria, who resides two blocks from the exhibit site. Detailed structural design and hardscaping was provided by H.J. Bosworth, Jr. P.E. The general contractor is Ryder and Ryder.
Volunteers from Hike for KaTREEna and Crescent City Community Church assisted in the installation of the garden and Levees.org supporters helped prep the soil and plant shrubs.
“This sustainable outdoor museum and park would not be possible without partnerships,” said Sandy Rosenthal, founder of Levees.org. “The educational exhibits and lovely rain garden exist due to personal relationships that are stronger than any inanimate object – including levees.”
The exhibit hall and garden is free and open to the public and is expected to be a permanent installation.
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is a catalyst for the revitalization of the city, partnering in strategic developments that celebrate the city’s neighborhoods and honor its traditions.