What Will New Orleans Look Like After Its Urban Water Plan Is Complete?

A look at the project’s planned locations, paired up with what these places could resemble in the future.

A rendering for the future Lafitte Blueway. Credit: Waggonner and Ball

In this week’s Forefront story, Watermark columnist Sarah Goodyear carefully details the goals and questions surrounding the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. The plan outlines a series of “demonstration projects,” designed by a team of architects and water infrastructure experts and led by David Waggonner of the firm Waggoner and Ball.

A result of two years of study and with a projected cost of $6.2 billion, the plan would reshape streets in the Lakeview neighborhood on a slight incline, replace them with pervious pavement, and dig bioswales by the sidewalk. An unused 25-acre parcel would turn into a “water garden,” where visitors could use a public pool that sits next to water filtration ponds that collect runoff.

The plan can’t help but strive — as Goodyear reports, its designers want to “mitigate catastrophe” but also aim to place New Orleans on the cutting edge of water technology. There’s an industry here: The Netherlands, a global leader in stormwater management and a source of inspiration and expertise for the plan, made €16.4 billion from its water sector in 2008, €6.5 billion stemming from exports. New Orleans, the plans reveal, wants to make like the Dutch.

How drastically could this change the look and feel of New Orleans streets? Take a gander at what project locations look like today, paired with designers’ renderings for their future.

A Google Maps screenshot of Mirabeau Avenue and St. Bernard today.

The Mirabeau Water Garden will be built to allow its “ponds” to swell, making room for runoff during storms.

Canal Street is named after canal that never really came to be.

This what that median would like with canal retrofits.

38th Street as it is now.

The designers explain that pervious pavement and bioswale channels would reduce street flooding.

An aerial view of Lafitte corridor.

The plan calls for turning Lafitte into a “blueway.”

Photos and renderings courtesy of Waggoner and Ball

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Cassie Owens is a regular contributor to Next City. Her writing has also appeared at CNN.com, Philadelphia City Paper and other publications.

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Tags: infrastructureurban designnew orleansfloodingstormwater managementlandscape architecture

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