Urban Water Series Culmination

The Greater New Orleans Foundation, in partnership with the Urban Institute, thirty partner organizations, councilmembers, regional and civic leaders, as well as a gamut of dynamic community members celebrated the conclusion of the Urban Water Series this month, marking the end of a successful exploration of water management issues. Over the course of the summer, we heard from experts in the water management field from such vanguard cities as Houston, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Portland, and Washington D.C. We learned that alongside these cities, New Orleans, a city that has long been defined by its relationship to water, can join their ranks by turning its water challenges into water assets.

The final session, Creating Local Change: Making a Commitment to Next Steps, was moderated by Jeff Eger, executive director of the Water Environment Federation. The panel included “water celebrities” Deputy Mayor of Facilities, Infrastructure, and Community Development, Cedric Grant; Principal of Waggonner & Ball Architects, David Waggonner; Executive Director of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, Marcia St. Martin; Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Jeff Hebert; and Councilmembers Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Jackie Clarkson, and LaToya Cantrell’s Chief of Staff, Marilyn Wood.

The dialogue was passionate as both audience members and panelists discussed how some of the practices learned from other cities could be adopted in New Orleans.  Action items were suggested, and these can all be viewed on our website in the resources section: dev.gnof.org/urbanwaterseries. Additionally, each session was videotaped and can be viewed on the above web address or on YouTube.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation was thrilled to see such active participation by having over 125 people attend each workshop, and over 300 people signed up to receive information about the Urban Water Series. The work will not stop here. The Foundation, the Urban Institute, the Surdna Foundation, and the blue moon fund  are now working on Phase II in which select civic, community, and business leaders will travel to several of the cities listed above for a continued series of learning exchanges and best practices. Watch for more information on how you can stay involved as New Orleans and the region takes its place in the national green infrastructure movement.