The health and well-being of the Lower Ninth Ward – its resilience as a community – is deeply intertwined with the Mississippi River on the south and the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle to the north. This new understanding continues to inform Coastal Sustainability and the critical role of wetlands throughout New Orleans, across Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast.
Once a thriving Cypress-Tupelo swamp, Bayou Bienvenue is now primarily brackish open water. As the wetland died over time, it also faded in people's minds, which is why CSED has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison on restoration research and the University of Colorado at Denver to build the Caffin Avenue Wetland Platform in early 2008. Since then, the viewing platform has played a vital role in reconnecting residents, volunteers and tourists with the Lower 9th Ward’s natural surroundings.
In the spirit of reconnection, the CSED engaged with multiple agencies and NGOs to further human and environmental interaction with the Bayou:
- Nancy Sutley, Chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, visited our neighborhood during their focus on the Gulf Coast by the Ocean Policy Task Force
- We also hosted Lisa Jackson, USEPA Administrator, at CSED offices for a meeting about the coastal restoration issues in relationship to the creation of the Gulf Coast Eco System Taskforce by President Obama
- A partnership with the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio and Board Member Austin Allen to develop a ‘Green Necklace’ effort to implement projects that will reconnect the residents to the wetlands that surround the area and provide fishing, crabbing, recreational opportunities and health related activities
- Collaborating on the Coastal Lines of Defense Partnership with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL), the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LBPF)
CSED staffer David Eber continues to serve as our Resiliency Coordinator, with a special emphasis on bayou restoration and wetlands research. In addition, bayou specialist John Taylor (and Lower 9 resident) works to maintain the platform area, document the on-going changes of the bayou and educate visitors on the history of the Wetland Triangle.
The Lower 9 remains unique as the only place within Orleans Parish where you can travel from the river to the bayou in one neighborhood.