New Orleans stormwater program marks 100th home project

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A program to install stormwater control features at up to 200 homes in one flood-plagued New Orleans neighborhood is halfway there, city officials said Thursday.

The 100th project was completed in March at the home of Stephanie Thomas in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood, according to a news release from the city and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

“The new rain garden and permeable driveway in front of my house are not only eye-catching (my neighbors have been asking me all about them!), but they have also reduced the amount of front yard flooding that we used to get with heavy rain,” Thomas said.

The redevelopment authority pays the full cost of improvements under the $5 million Community Adaptation Program for low-to moderate-income homeowners in Gentilly. It’s part of a $141 million federal grant to reduce storm flooding in that neighborhood. Other programs to reduce stormwater runoff bring the total to $270 million.

Homeowners can choose from a variety of work including French drains, infiltration trenches, native plantings, permeable surfaces, rain barrels, rain gardens and stormwater planter boxes.

“These projects not only reduce stormwater runoff and the burden on our city’s pipes and pumps, but also provide invaluable job training and educational opportunities for our citizens,” said Brenda Breaux, executive director for the authority.

“We look forward to getting construction underway on more Gentilly Resilience District projects this year.” said Joseph Threat, a manager in the program.

The improvements at Thomas’ home, which also included infiltration trenches and a stormwater planter box, can hold 3,298 gallons (12,484 liters) or about 2.3 inches (5.8 centimeters) of rainfall, the city said.

“This definitely reduces my rain stress as a homeowner,” Thomas said.