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10 posts from February 2012

  • 02/29/2012
  • Posted by Tracy Nelson

Recognizing a Great Partnership Between Lower 9th Ward CSED and Sierra Club

Nola-scf-dubinskyphotography-0472 PSTracy Nelson, Executive Director of CSED and Robin Mann, Sierra Club President on the Bayou Bienvenue Triangle Platform (Caffin & Florida)

What a thrill it was for CSED to be recognized by an organization as well known and well respected as the Sierra Club. And it was an honor and delight to not only meet Michael Brune and Robin Mann but the board members of both the Sierra Club and the Sierra Club Foundation as well. The highlight for me was receiving the award out on the Bayou Bienvenue Triangle Platform where so many events, press conferences and influential people have gathered. This platform, built from the desire of the community to be reconnected to the water, shows how great collaborations can bring a project to fruition in situations where very little progress was originally anticipated. In partnership with the Sierra Club, the University of Wisconsin biology students, University of Colorado at Denver design students, Common Ground volunteers, CSED staff, residents and local carpenters, this platform has become a symbol of the ‘can-do attitude’ of one small community. Used daily by residents and visitors alike, the platform is a vital link for our community to the wetlands that border our neighborhood.

If you have not been to this special site within the Lower 9th Ward, it is located at the end of Caffin and Florida Avenue. If you come early in the morning you may, by chance, run into local resident John (Swamp Red) Taylor. John not only maintains the site for CSED but he is an endless wealth of knowledge about the wetlands and how it used to be when he was a coming up.

John Taylor Platform2

Left: John Taylor with young gator at site
Right: Bayou Bienvenue Triangle Platform

  • 02/27/2012
  • Posted by Kathy Muse

Wrapping It Up: Insulating the Lower Ninth Ward

CSED WeatherizationCSED Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Vincent Fedeli, and Charles Reddick, the newest member of the CSED team,  help Henry Smith, son of  Lower Ninth Ward homeowner Edith Smith, continue the insulation of  her home. The CSED previously installed radiant barrier in the attic and fiberglass batting insulation underneath the house between the floor joists.  The attic and walls were insulated during construction. Last week, the final touch to complete the thermal boundary was the installation of R-Matte Plus-3 rigid foam plastic thermal insulation board composed of closed cell, polyisocyanurate foam underneath the fiberglass insulation.  The thermal boundary is the layer in a building enclosure that controls the transfer of energy (heat) between the interior and the exterior.  Homeowner Edith Smith will benefit from increased savings on her utility bill and will also enjoy increased comfort in her home.

1911 St Maurice

  • 02/26/2012
  • Posted by staff

CSED Receives National Recognition for Sustainable Recovery Efforts


Left to right: Darryl Malek-Wiley (CSED & Sierra Club), Robin Mann (Sierra Club), Tracy Nelson (CSED), Michael Brune (Sierra Club), John Taylor (CSED), Charles Allen (City of NO), David Eber (CSED), and Aaron Mair (Sierra Club).

The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), founded in 2006 following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, was honored Friday for the organization's initiatives to restore Bayou Bienvenue and the community since the storms. National Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune and President Robin Mann were on hand to present the award to CSED's executive director, Tracy Nelson, at the view platform overlooking Bayou Bienvenue.

The Times-Picayune's Katy Reckdahl covered the event in "Lower 9th Ward is making environmental strides, Sierra Club declares":

"Six years after it was enveloped by floodwaters, the Lower 9th Ward includes three urban farms and perhaps more “green” houses than any other neighborhood in the country. Alongside typical New Orleans pleas for more repaired streets and fewer blighted lots, Lower 9 residents now regularly lobby for sustainable development. They’ve also pushed to restore the long-neglected Bayou Bienvenue, which bounds the neighborhood on its Florida Avenue edge.

On Friday, the national environmental group Sierra Club cited these achievements as it honored one of the area’s post-Katrina engines, the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development.

“I think we’re turning a corner,” said the center’s former co-director, Charles Allen, who now is the city’s director of environmental affairs.

During the years after the failed Industrial Canal levees opened up onto the Lower 9th Ward, Allen and co-director Pam Dashiell, who died in 2009, worked from dawn to dusk organizing neighbors, pushing for structurally sound levees and demanding environmentally sensitive construction.

The Sierra Club gathered on the bayou on Friday to highlight achievements and future challenges. The group, with the support of Lower 9 neighbors, is pushing to get the restoration of Bayou Bienvenue included in the master plan drafted last month by the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, organizer Darryl Malek-Wiley said." READ MORE >>

  • 02/23/2012
  • Posted by David Eber

Sierra Club's National Director to Honor CSED's Bayou Work

Sunrisebayou_edited-1Tomorrow, Friday February 24th, at 1:30pm at the Bayou Bienvenue Platform (located at Caffin and Florida ave.), National Executive Director of The Sierra Club Michael Brune and Sierra Club Board Chair Robin Mann will honor the CSED for their efforts to create a sustainable recovery for the Lower 9th Ward and CSED's understanding that one can't rebuild the community sustainably without restoring the natural environment too.

Please join us!

  • 02/16/2012
  • Posted by staff

Art on the Water: CHAISE ÎLE in Bayou Bienvenue

CHAISE ÎLE is a site specific installation sculpture made for the damaged Bayou Bienvenue at the top of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Artist Roy Staab's sculpture is made of tall bamboo with cantenary lines made of bundled blood-weed [harvested from the land near the site]. This video shows how nature works with the art from wind when the lines move to the quiet still reflection of the early morning sunrise light that John Taylor caught and the evening sunset that Katie Holten found. Made with the help of A Studio in the Woods staff and recent resident Benjamin Morris and a few others.

  • 02/14/2012
  • Posted by staff

Holy Cross School Site Plans Dealt a Setback (via Times-Picayune)

The Times-Picayune this morning reported on a setback to plans coordinated jointly by a team of developers (including Green Coast Enterprises and actor Wendell Pierce) and Lower 9th Ward residents to redevelop the old Holy Cross School property into a multi-use project complete with a green grocery and urban farm.

By Frank Donze, The Times-Picayune

Citing their inability to line up financing, developers have scrapped a proposal to buy the shuttered Holy Cross School campus and bring a full-service supermarket and affordable housing for teachers to the Lower 9th Ward site. A team led by New Orleans-based Green Coast Enterprises signed an agreement to buy the 16-acre tract last year. But the group notified the school's real estate agent recently that it would not be able to meet a late January deadline to finalize the purchase.

David da Cunha, the Property One broker representing Holy Cross, said Friday that the developers were attempting to cobble together several sources of funding, including a loan from a City Hall-administered program set up to provide residents with greater access to healthful food choices.

"It proved to be too slow of a process for them, " da Cunha said, "so they decided to pull out. It was a business decision they had to make.''

Green Coast officials couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Holy Cross officials, who moved the school to a new home in Gentilly two-and-a-half years ago, announced last spring that they were looking for a buyer for the old campus.

Property One established an asking price of $2.1 million for the entire site, including several parcels adjacent to or near the campus.

Site may be broken up

While the school still would prefer a single transaction, da Cunha said there now "may be an opportunity to carve out some of the pieces and sell it less than whole." READ MORE >>

via www.nola.com

Please comment!

  • 02/12/2012
  • Posted by staff

Warrenetta Banks: Helping to Rebuild New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward

A wonderful piece on CSED's Warrenetta Banks from NewsOne! Congrats Warrenetta for this well-deserved recognition!

By Jeff Mays

This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them.

Warrenetta Banks

Place of Residence: New Orleans, La.

Why she is a local hero: Banks is working with the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development to help rebuild her city.

The volunteers always pour in right after a tragedy. Whether it be Haiti or New Orleans, people respond when they see evidence of lives touched by destruction. But what happens when the news cameras leave and the victims of natural disaster are left to fend for themselves?

In New Orleans, Banks has worked diligently with the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development to coordinate volunteer efforts to make sure that doesn’t happen. From building homes and restoring gardens and playgrounds, thousands of volunteers continue to contribute to the effort to rebuild parts of New Orleans in a sustainable way.

So far the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development has helped more than 3,000 volunteers provide 41,000 hours of service for the people of the Lower Ninth Ward, which was hit hardest by Katrina and the overflowing levees that followed.

Banks knows the power of volunteers first-hand.

via newsone.com

  • 02/09/2012
  • Posted by David Eber

Oliver Bush Park's Two Million Dollar Makeover Breaks Ground

OliverbushgroundbreakingshovelsToday, at Oliver Bush Park in the Lower 9th Ward, the city finally broke ground on a project that was announced one month after Mayor Mitch Landrieu was elected as one of his one hundred recovery projects. We applaud Mayor Landrieu and other partners who made it possible for this wonderful park to return.

OliverbushgroupphotoSeveral speakers spoke of Oliver Bush himself. He was someone who challenged segregation. He was a business owner. He was a father and a lover of all children. His mural and his spirit were watching the events today that will signal the return of a new covered basketball court, new play structures, four tennis courts and a baseball diamond for a cost of $2,100,000.

This is great news for the children of Lower 9 and for development efforts occuring "back a' town," espescially so near the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle and Platform. In attendance were among others, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Charles Allen III Director of Enivronmental Affairs for the Mayor's office and former Holy Cross Neighborhood Association President, Councilman Jon Johnson,Vanessa Guerringer of A Community Voice, Patricia Jones Director of NENA, Steve Martin on behalf of the Lower 9th Ward Homeowner's Association, Robert Green of the Make It Right Homeowner's Association, Thom Pepper of Common Ground Relief, and last but not least The CSED!!

Stayed tuned for updates on the progress!

  • 02/07/2012
  • Posted by staff

The North American Urban Agriculture Experience

Great new post on the World Bank's Sustainable Cities blog - featuring urban gardens in New Orleans, Oakland and elsewhere:

By Rana Amirtahmasebi

In a country where, in some places, a burger barely costs a dollar while a bag of baby carrots is priced nearly thrice as much, there’s plenty of work to be done to make healthy foods affordable – and accessible. There is no denying that food insecurity (of which cheap and nutritionally inadequate junk food is a major manifestation) is a concern in the US. In fact, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) nearly 14.5 per cent Americans experienced food insecurity at some point in 2010.

To fight this, many cities across the US are assessing their food production potential and creating special legislation for promoting urban agriculture. Let me clarify that “urban” agriculture does not imply turning down high-density buildings in the city centers to build farms. As an urban planner I am a supporter of higher densities. However, the leftover land around the cities or the residential open spaces with no other obvious use could be used as productive fragments of land within the cities. But more on this later - maybe another blog entry!

In the US, urban agriculture began at the grassroots level as a social justice movement to combat food insecurity among under-privileged communities. Within a couple of decades, a growing demand resulted in local governments making an active effort to support urban agriculture. Sometime ago I documented some of New Orleans’ urban farms with my video camera.

The New Orleans effort is commendable. Especially since urban agriculture is not just about food security: it does great service to the cause of sustainable cities. At the most basic level, purchasing fresh and locally grown produce reduces energy needs and costs associated with long distance travel and refrigeration. City residents also benefit from cleaner air and cooler temperatures in the summer. Also, urban agriculture provides a great opportunity to convert unused land and water resources for food cultivation.

Based on my experience, ongoing urban agriculture efforts within the US can be categorized into three groups. Increasingly, cities are creating urban agriculture plans, food policy councils, and maps of potential locations for urban farms. READ MORE >>

via blogs.worldbank.org

  • 02/02/2012
  • Posted by Vincent Fedeli

Watts Up – Know Your Loads



High utility bills?  Grab the reins and take control of the electricity you use by identifying where your energy dollars are going.  Learn how much electricity your loads are using!

What’s a Load?

A load is anything in an electrical circuit that when the circuit is turned on draws power from the circuit.  A load can be an air conditioner, a water heater, a computer, a clock radio, a TV – anything in your house that uses electricity!

Of course not all loads use the same amount of electricity.  Per hour a TV will use less electricity than an air conditioner.  Per hour a 4 watt clock radio will use less electricity than a water heater.

To determine how many watts each of your loads uses, reference the manual or search for the label on the air conditioner, water heater, computer, clock radio or TV.  Most likely the label will have a watt number on it.  If you only see the amps and the volts, don’t worry.  The percentage of watts can be determined by multiplying the volts times the amps.  P(watts)=E(volts)xI(amps).

What’s a watt-hour (Wh)?

Load use is measured in watt-hours.

A (Wh) is a quantity of electrical energy when one watt is used for one hour.  For example: a 4 watt clock radio uses 4 watts an hour.  A 3500 watt (2.5 ton) central air conditioner uses 3500 watts an hour.  A large 1440 watt window unit AC unit uses 1400 watts an hour.

For those of us living in the Big Easy air conditioning consumes the majority of the household electricity we use.  You could then say it uses the most watts per hour.  Therefore air conditioning warrants the most attention.  Water heating usually consumes the second largest amount of watts per hour.  Lighting usually comes in third.

Understanding loads and the amount of watts they use can help you adjust your habits and save you money.  Take control of your utility bills!  Grab the reins, learn your loads, know your watts and make your home work for you - not the other way around.