Water Equity Clearinghouse

Gentilly Resilience District

New Orleans, LA

The Gentilly Resilience District is a combination of efforts across the Gentilly district to address pressing environmental and social challenges in the area through various approaches to water and land management. This is New Orleans’ first Resilience District. The idea for the Gentilly Resilience District was first proposed in the City of New Orleans’ application to the National Disaster Resilience Competition, conducted by HUD. Subsequently, New Orleans was awarded $141 million to create the Gentilly Resilience District and invest in projects that increase social well-being, build better infrastructure, and support neighborhood cultural initiatives. Solutions are meant to be scalable and replicable, such that other neighborhoods can take away key lessons and build on the experiences of Gentilly residents to create an environment of adaptation and resilience across New Orleans.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

Like much of New Orleans, the Gentilly District is subject to land subsidence, chronic flooding, undermaintained streets, and overburdened drainage systems. Gentilly Resilience District projects target these problems by recovering streets, vacant lots, parks, schoolyards, and private property, and creating spaces that capture rainwater in the urban landscape. These green spaces provide beauty, filter pollutants to create healthy air and water, and give residents an opportunity for recreation. For example, the Mirabeau Water Garden is 25-acre site that was repurposed from a convent to a space of recreation, environmental learning, and storage for up to 10 million gallons of stormwater. Another project, St. Anthony Green Streets, sets a new standard for how neighborhood streets and playgrounds can incorporate stormwater management in the process of neighborhood revitalization. Many other projects are described on the Gentilly Resilience District fact sheet.

The projects have an added benefit of training and preparing local residents to develop, install, and manage water infrastructure. This ensures that the systems have a self-perpetuating base of water operators that do not have to rely on municipal water authorities or government agencies for technical expertise or assistance. Building capacity on a local level is at the heart of all Gentilly Resilience District projects, and workforce trainings and education empower and sustain a community beyond the end of individual projects.