New Orleans Is Building a Sustainable Future

Here’s a look at all the sustainability-focused initiatives happening around New Orleans.

Author: Casey Gale       

The city of New Orleans has stood the test of time because of its inherent commitment to conserving the history and culture throughout the community. The hospitality community understands the importance of meeting today’s needs while keeping an eye on the future of the destination through continuous development and improvement. From a multi-billion-dollar investment in the city’s levee protection system to the million-dollar conservation projects being executed by the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the city is dedicated to maintaining and creating a city that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

New Orleans’ commitment to sustainability is clear from a number of the city’s recent efforts. Its $15.5 million Pontilly Neighborhood Stormwater Network, currently in development, will store up to 8.9 million gallons of stormwater and reduce flooding by as much as 14 inches during a 10-year span. Additionally, the City Park Hazard Mitigation project, also in development, will see existing lagoons in City Park terraced along the shoreline to create additional storage volume. Connections between these lagoons will be enhanced to circulate stormwater, improving water quality and habitats for native fish and birds while decreasing invasive species. Once a major storm event has passed, excess stormwater from the City Park lagoons will be slowly released back into the drainage system and eventually to Lake Pontchartrain. This project will promote green spaces by including native plants along the shoreline that will reduce erosion, while new plants will be added to the park throughout this initiative will aid in groundwater storage through their longer root networks as compared to common lawn grasses. The Mid-City area of New Orleans is also undergoing some upgrades, including the $7.1 million Hagan Lafite Project, which involves underground storage tanks, pipe upgrades, and rain gardens. When complete, this project will reduce localized flooding by storing up to 1.3 gallons of stormwater.

New Orleans is “Built to Host” and the city takes pride in identifying key challenges and strengths to build a stronger foundation for the future of the community. New developments at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center contribute to the city’s sustainability efforts — such as upgrading more than 5,000 light fixtures to clean LED lighting, in addition to all of its exhibit hall lighting, which was transitioned to LED lighting in 2021. This, alongside the Convention Center’s ongoing dedication to recycling and food donation, displays the unwavering support of the community that makes New Orleans a standout destination.

Casey Gale is managing editor of Convene.