Less Flooding

Want Less Street Flooding in New Orleans?  
Consider a Gray-to-Green Transformation

drain-floodPaving more than 40% of your front yard is illegal in New Orleans. Excessive yard paving takes the place of potential green space and promotes parking on sidewalks, creating a safety issue. When rainfall hits pavement, it cannot be absorbed. Instead, it pools at low points or runs off into catch basins, where it can overwhelm the pump system and lead to flooding and property subsidence (sinking).

The Front Yard Initiative (FYI) is working with homeowners in New Orleans to replace unwanted concrete and asphalt with plants and soil. With paving removed, and rain gardens and other improvements installed, water is slowed, stored and filtered. Subsidence is minimized and so is damage to infrastructure and private property. The Urban Conservancy can connect you with professionals, volunteers and other resources that can help make the gray-to-green transformation as affordable and effective as possible.  Go to to learn more, or call (504) 617-6618.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to report excessive yard paving violations to the Department of Safety and Permits by calling (504) 658-7100.

You can also help by clearing the front of any catch basin near your home…

“Thought you would like to know that our front yard did beautifully yesterday!” This message brought to you by the owners of the Broadmoor house that used to get 8″ in their front yard after a hard rain who participated in the #FrontYardInitiative.

The driveway on the left and bioswale on the right now capture and slow water from entering the city’s system. Photo below shows what used to happen after a one-hour 2″ rain (Broadmoor got 5.49″ in a matter of hours on Aug 5.) Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture Quality Sitework Materials Truegrid Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. Details about the program in the link:

The Front Yard Initiative is the Urban Conservancy’s response to excessive yard paving. Rampant front yard paving is a community issue that has broad and significant effects on the city of New Orleans from stormwater to safety.

Stormwater management in New Orleans has been characterized by regularly overwhelmed drainage systems, excessive paving and pumping that has depleted groundwater levels and led to a sinking city, and urban water assets being wasted while hidden behind walls, underground, or pumped into the river and lake. All of these issues and the failure of traditional infrastructure (levees, pipes and pumps) to protect the city from Hurricane Katrina, continuous flooding, and subsidence has led to a shift in mindset regarding the most effective and thoughtful way to manage stormwater in South Louisiana. It is clear that the single-minded approach of rushing stromwater over pavement, into pipes and pumping it out of the city needs to be reevaluated.

About the author
Charlie London
  • Get in touch is a community service of Charlie London. Charlie London is the Content Strategist for Faubourg St. John. Click on the icons above this text for more. Even more information is available at Links to the original article (when applicable) are provided in the post.