What: Press conference
Where: 1917 Wilton Drive, New Orleans (site of east London Avenue Canal breach)
When: Wednesday August 27, 2014 at 10 a.m.
Why: Unveil Plans for Proposed Open-air Levee Exhibit and Garden at London Avenue Canal Breach Site
After nine years of struggle, the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans is taking matters into their own hands.
Working in partnership with the local non profit Levees.org, the residents will build their own Open-air Levee Exhibit and Garden as a lasting testimony to the tragedy of the levee breaches during Hurricane Katrina and their determination to come back.
Levees.org has leased a parcel of land directly in front of the site where a portion of the London Avenue Canal wall failed far below design pecifications during Katrina. The site is one of the worst levee breaches in terms of the death and the volume of damage to property and infrastructure.
The house which formerly sat on the newly leased lot was pushed fifty feet into the street by the force of the water bursting through the breached levee. Levees.org and the residents of Gentilly intend for the exhibits to tell the full and true story about the failure of levees and floodwalls constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The exhibit and garden, which will be free and open to the public, is designed by Carrie and Scott Bernhard of the Lime Agency for Sustainable Hot/Humid Design.
Growing Green, a program administered through the New Orleans redevelopment Authority, has granted a one year renewable lease at a cost of $250.00 for the property at 5000 Warrington Street. After two years, there is an option to purchase the property.
“This is a truly an example of how the most successful projects come about through collaboration,” says Gloria Decuir Robert, president of the Filmore Gardens Neighborhood Association. “Soon, by placing exhibits at this site for visitors with the desire to understand the 2005 flood catastrophe, we can, at the same time, improve the quality of life for the neighborhood residents.” Levees.org will hold a fundraiser to help defray the cost of the exhibit and garden.
Carmen Owens, a homeowner directly across the street had complained to the city’s Quality of Life department for more than a year about illegal dumping at this lot. The target ribbon cutting date is June 1, 2015. The Army Corps of Engineers has no formal position on the failure of its Levee Protection System and resulting flooding during Katrina.