Speak Up for Less Flooding in New Orleans

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.This week and next, Mayor Landrieu’s 2014 Budgeting for Outcomes Meetings are taking place in each Council District. Please plan to come out and join Mayor Landrieu and your district councilmember for these very important meetings and advocate for better stormwater protection. This is an important opportunity for the Administration to hear from neighborhoods that stormwater management investment should be a priority in the 2014 budget and beyond.Can you come to a meeting and speak up for better management of our water? Below are recommended talking points that you can deliver to the Mayor at one of the meetings.1) The City has nearly $190 million in approved FEMA funds earmarked for streets improvements not yet in design or construction – make sure some effective amount of those monies are used to incorporate permeable surfaces, bios wales, and other flood protection into those street projects.2) The City has nearly $247 million in approved federal hazard mitigation grants. In your (Mayor’s) 2011 letter to the Governor asking for that money, you indicated it would go in part towards storm water protection modeled after the Dutch – back that up!3) The City Planning Commission and City Council will soon vote on storm water safeguards to be included in local zoning rules – please support that effort so that it passes and ensure adequate funding for enforcement and administration.4) In 2013, the City only dedicated $200K to maintain and repair over 1,200 miles of its broken drainage pipes. The Administration’s own study from 2011 shows graphically how neighborhood flooding will continue to worsen unless those pipes are fixed or supported with other flood protection means – increase annual funding to at least maintain what we have so flooding does not become worse!Mayor Landrieu Annual Community Budget Meetings:All the meetings will start at 6 p.m.District C: Aug. 13, at L.B. Landry High School, 1200 L.B. Landry Ave., Algiers.District A: Aug. 20, at Edward Hynes Charter School, 990 Harrison Ave.District E: Aug. 22, at Joe W. Brown Recreational Center, 5601 Read Blvd.District D: Aug. 26, at Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, 6026 Paris Ave.District B: Aug. 28, at KIPP Central City Academy, 2514 Third St.Please RSVP to Jonathan Henderson at jonathan@healthygulf.org to let us know if you are willing to speak up for a Flood Less New Orleans at one of these meetings!

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