Gulf Restoration Network

United for a Healthy Gulf

Blogging for a Healthy Gulf
Harry Lowenburg
Flooding, Budgets, and Family
Thursday, 22 August 2013 09:31

Sunken Gardens The Sunken Gardens on Canal Blvd. are a good example of cost-effective green infrastructure that helps retain stormwater. On Tuesday night, I attended New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s District A Budget Listening session. GRN’s Michelle Erenberg and I were both there as District A residents. I live Uptown and she lives in Lakeview, but we both have concerns about flooding in our respective neighborhoods. Upon arriving, I saw Michelle right away (there was a huge crowd). Michelle told me that her father just had a heart attack and would likely undergo bypass surgery in Maryland. Her mind was occupied with whether she could go to Maryland and what she needed to do. She had a really good reason not to stick around the hearing for hours.

I said to her, “There are 10 minutes before the hearing starts, and all the city department heads are up there at the front of the room. Go find one. Tell them about your dad and that you need to go, but also why you came and why you have something important to say.”

Read more: Flooding, Budgets, and Family
Raleigh Hoke
Supporters Converge in Solidarity with Flood Protection Authority
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 14:29

Sticker Last week, a diverse array of Louisiana organizations and citizens, including Gulf Restoration Network, converged on two different meetings in order to support the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority’s lawsuit versus 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies for destruction of the Louisiana coast.

The first was a meeting of the Louisiana House and Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committees on Wednesday, August 14th for “review and discussion relative to Civil Action No. 13-6911.” That action is the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority’s lawsuit. It is unusual for the Joint Transportation Committee to meet to consider this pending litigation because the committee has no legislative authority to oversee the actions of the independent Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East was established by the voters of Louisiana by Constitutional Amendment in 2007 with the sole mission of flood protection. It was established as a body of credentialed experts in engineering, hydrology and flood protection, independent of the political meddling said to have plagued local levee boards before Katrina and Rita. "The primary purpose of the new Authority, as stated in the law, is regional coordination of flood protection." said Sandy Rosenthal, founder of

Read more: Supporters Converge in Solidarity with Flood Protection Authority
Jonathan Henderson
Speak Up for Less Flooding in New Orleans
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 11:13

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it We are all far too familiar with the regular occurrence of flooding in our neighborhoods.  New Orleans is one of the rainiest cities in the country with over 5 feet falling per year, and it’s time we learned to live with the water. The levees surrounding New Orleans create a “bathtub” effect, allowing parts of the city to fill up during a heavy rain event. Localized street flooding in many neighborhoods inundates cars, makes transportation impossible, and damages homes and businesses.

Fortunately, the latest green technologies like rain gardens and pervious roads can prevent flooding by slowing drainage, safely storing and filtering water, thus minimizing the burden on the city’s drainage system. Canals can be transformed into beautiful public spaces that hold water while contributing to a higher quality of life. Detailed plans have been create for New Orleans to better live with the water and flood less, but now it’s time to implement.

Read more: Speak Up for Less Flooding in New Orleans
Guest Blogger
A Day on the Bayou
Monday, 19 August 2013 11:31

bayou st john Two Saturdays ago, a handful of us at the Gulf Restoration Network participated in the Bayou St. John Marsh Creation Project. The project – supported by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Restore the Earth Foundation, and the Orleans Levee District – was enacted to build half an acre of native marsh in the city of New Orleans.

The plan to build wetlands was an add-on to a dredging project, as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is using some of the dredged sediment to create said wetlands along the banks where the bayou meets the lake. The project has three phases: Build Walls, Fill In, and Sculpt & Plant.

Read more: A Day on the Bayou
Cyn Sarthou
Tell Gov. Jindal to Stand With Our Wetlands
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 00:00

jindalwetlandsDid you hear that Governor Jindal has come out against efforts to hold the oil industry accountable for the wetlands they have destroyed? Tell the Governor that he should be making sure the oil and gas industry fixes what it broke!

The official, Governor-appointed board which manages the levees and storm protection system for the New Orleans area recently filed a lawsuit against nearly 100 oil and gas companies which have been linked to the destruction of wetlands.

This is a historic step, because while scientists have shown that at least 36% of Louisiana's catastrophic wetlands loss was caused by the oil and gas industry, no state leaders have ever held them accountable. Louisiana is losing an average of a football field worth of wetlands every hour, so this is a critical effort to bring some of the wealthiest corporations in the world to the table and make them fix what they have destroyed.

Why is the Governor speaking out against this lawsuit? These wetlands make up our coastal lines of defense which help protect coastal communities. This is a critical issue, and only getting more urgent as sea levels are rising and storms are getting stronger.

Join with us today, and urge the Governor to support efforts to hold oil and gas companies accountable for helping protect Louisiana's coast and communities.

Cynthia Sarthou is GRN's Executive Director. 

Harry Lowenburg
Top Chef for the Gulf
Thursday, 08 August 2013 14:06

TeamZemanickAs many of you have heard, Chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's Restaurant is competing on Bravo Top Chef Masters and Gulf Restoration Network is her designated cause. Each week there is a Viewer's Choice vote to determine which chef team wins $1,000 for its charity partner.

Vote here for Team Zemanick and Gulf Restoration Network!

You can cast 40 votes for each phone line up until Monday, August 19th at noon Eastern (11 AM Central) time. Then, every week that she competes you can cast 40 more votes per phone number. The voting starts each Wednesday night when Bravo Top Chef Masters airs at 10 Eastern (9 Central) and closes on the following Monday at noon Eastern time, except the last week (the tenth week) when voting closes on Thursday, September 26.

So, please help to defend the Gulf by voting for Team Zemanick.

In week five, Sue's group won the "restaurant war" competition.  She received a lot of complements did not win the top chef for the week.  Most important, she survives to cook another week.  

Team Zemanick has so far won $10,000 for the Gulf Restoration Network. It was announced that Team Zemanick is in second place in the Viewers' Choice voting. So let's step up the voting and sharing. Who do you know with large a Twitter following that can share this blog? Thanks Team Zemanick for your love and passion!

Please share this blog with your friends and family and ask them to vote for Team Zemanick!

Harry Lowenburg is GRN's Gulf Fish Forever Campaign Organizer.

Scott Eustis
Polluting Our Last Hope
Thursday, 08 August 2013 12:52

dnrinvite2We need to put the Mississippi River back to work building land in Louisiana, but a river full of coal runoff cannot build healthy wetlands. Help us make this message clear to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by attending a public hearing next week, Wednesday August 14th.

The Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast was unanimously passed by the Louisiana State Legislature. This is Louisiana’s imperfect, best, and last shot at turning the tide of our coastal crisis. But the plan already faces great challenges.

Coal terminals have expanded across the country, and have grown into mountains in Plaquemines Parish. RAM Terminals, LLC is threatening to place another mountain of coal just upstream from the mouth of the Myrtle Grove diversion project.

We cannot let this terminal pollute our last hope for restoration. Please join us:

Louisiana DNR Coastal Use Public Hearing
6:30pm at the Percy Griffin Community Center
15577 Hwy 15. Davant, LA 70040
GRN has rented a van that will depart downtown New Orleans from Calliope and Baronne at 4:30pm.

RSVP to our Facebook event and then invite your friends and family. You can also contact me at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to confirm a seat in the van.

Scott Eustis is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist. 

Guest Blogger
Aveda Raffle Winner
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 09:16

P.Kuzmich raffle pic Photo: Paul KuzmichAttention Friends of the Gulf! This morning we scrambled up over 1,000 tickets from our annual Earth Month Drawing, thanks to Aveda. Every year, the Aveda salons of the Gulf Region sell raffle tickets for the entire month of April, and all proceeds go to us here at the Gulf Restoration Network. And the winner of the 2013 Earth Month Drawing for the Rediscover New Orleans Package is… 

Paul Kuzmich from Austin, Texas! Paul’s winnings include:

-$500 towards travel and lodging
-Gift certificates to fine dining establishments, including $200 at Gautreau’s (be sure to watch out and vote for Team Zemanick this season of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters)
-Two weekend passes to Voodoo Music Experience, November 1-3
-And two passes to Audubon Nature Institute

Congratulations and thanks to Paul for his support of the Gulf Restoration Network! Also, a big thanks goes out to all those participated in the Earth Month Drawing this year, Aveda and, of course, the sponsors who made this wonderful prize possible.

Morgane Lirette is GRN's Development Intern

Matt Rota
Big Dead Zone, Little EPA Action
Friday, 02 August 2013 10:18

dead zone august 2013On Monday, scientists released their annual measurement of the Gulf Dead Zone, which measured 5,800 square miles - an area larger than the state of Connecticut. Despite voluntary measures promoted by EPA and the states to curb Dead Zone-causing pollution, this area where oxygen levels get so low that sea life must swim away or suffocate has only grown bigger! Tell the EPA to take real action to tackle this important issue:

The Dead Zone doesn’t just threaten the fish and fisherfolk in its immediate footprint. A ripple effect is felt throughout the Gulf’s $2.8 billion dollar fishing industry, with competition and crowding increasing as fishing fleets focus their efforts on unaffected areas. Dead Zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution also creates environmental problems like toxic algae blooms throughout the entire Mississippi River Basin.

Read more: Big Dead Zone, Little EPA Action
Scott Eustis
Communities Don't Want Coal
Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00











  Investors and Communities can agree: "Communities don't want coal export terminals. They don't want railroads trucking through town."

 And they don't want large piles of coal to blow all over them. 

Kinder-Morgan's coal and pet coke pile, down in Myrtle Grove, regularly coats boats in a black film, and increases the amount of house cleaning for residents, both inside and outside. 

And you thought your dog was a pain. Imagine living door to a neighbor like this:


Read more: Communities Don't Want Coal
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