City’s stormwater management program for Gentilly homeowners marks a milestone
The city and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority on Thursday (April 8) announced a major milestone of completing 100 projects in the Community Adaptation Program.
The program helps Gentilly homeowners retrofit their properties to better manage stormwater by installing green infrastructure such as French drains, infiltration trenches, native plantings, permeable surfaces, rain barrels, rain gardens and stormwater planter boxes.
In March 2021, the project team completed the final walk-through of the 100th CAP project, where the design and construction teams of Dana Brown & Associates in partnership with Greenman Dan installed a permeable (allows water to move through) paver driveway system, infiltration trenches, rain gardens and a stormwater planter box.
The green retrofits to this property combine for a total stormwater storage of 3,298 gallons, which amounts to 2.3 inches of rainfall.
Homeowner Stephanie Thomas said the improvements also made her property more attractive. “My neighbors have been asking me all about them,” she said, adding: “Not only are not only eye-catching, but they have reduced the amount of front yard flooding that we used to get with heavy rain.”
The $5 million CAP, which is managed by NORA, is part of the city’s $141 million HUD-funded Gentilly Resilience District. It is designed to benefit up to 200 low- to moderate-income, owner-occupied single-family households.
In total, the completed projects will be able to hold and manage 144,686 gallons (approximately 3,445 bathtubs) of stormwater in the Gentilly area before allowing it to gradually enter the city’s drainage system.
“This program is a great benefit to participating homeowners in the Gentilly neighborhood who are now able to hold stormwater through green infrastructure interventions on their property,” said Project Delivery Unity Manager Joseph Threat. “We look forward to getting construction underway on more Gentilly Resilience District projects this year.”
Once accepted into CAP, homeowners are presented with a variety of green infrastructure interventions from which to choose. An average grant award is between $10,000 and $25,000. The improvements are designed and installed at no cost to the homeowner, and the program puts the homeowner in the driver’s seat.
The property owner works directly with the team of their choosing to determine a feasible design. The design and construction teams of Dana Brown & Associates, Thrive NOLA, Wingate Engineers and Ubuntu Construction Company are working with homeowners to complete projects.
“It’s the largest residential stormwater management program of its kind,” said Seth Knudsen, NORA’s director of real estate development and planning, in a promotional video. “It’s designed to complement large-scale green infrastructure programs and connect the city’s property owners and residents to the larger task of green infrastructure we all share.”
Thomas encourages other homeowners to take part in the program. “This definitely reduces my rain stress as a homeowner,” she said.
The public can view completed projects through a Virtual “CAP Chats” online event series.
To be eligible, homeowners must prove they live in the Gentilly Resilience District and that the property is their primary residence, they have flood insurance, and their income is at or below 80% of the area’s median income (for example, $42,000 for a two-person household and $52,500 for a four-person household). Participants are also required to attend a training workshop. An application is available here.