The Water Wise Upper 9th Ward Initiative began in 2019 with a partnership between Water Wise Gulf South and the Upper 9th Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association.
The Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association’s mission is “to stimulate revitalization and building through a comprehensive approach focused on neighborhood rebuilding.” Overarching goals of the association include business and economic development, resident recovery, improving public health, fostering social interaction, and respecting and enhancing cultural heritage. The Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association has been active in the community for 15 years. The Board is made up of residents and stakeholders of the Upper 9th Ward. Katherine Prevost is the Executive Director of the Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association. She is a native New Orleanian who completed the Water Wise Citywide Neighborhood Champions Training in 2016 and the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program in 2019. Katherine has a background in emergency management and preparedness.
The footprint of Water Wise Upper 9th Ward is from St. Claude Avenue to the Florida Avenue Canal and from Montegut Street to Poland Avenue.
The New Orleans Data Center includes several neighborhoods within the footprint of Water Wise Upper 9th Ward. However, it is important to note that our footprint does not cover the entirety of some of these neighborhoods. The statistics below are of each neighborhood found within the Water Wise Upper 9th Ward Footprint.
St. Claude: The population of the footprint is 6,967. 68.5% of the residents are Black, 23.6% are White, and 4.7% are Hispanic. A majority of the residents are renters (56.6% are renter occupied) and 24.3% of the households are vacant in the St. Claude Statistical Region. The average household income is $38,233 and 67.6% of the residents are living at or above the poverty line while 32.4% live in poverty.
Florida Area: The population of the footprint is 1,420. 95.1% of the residents are Black, 3.9% are White, and 1.1% are Hispanic. 50.9% of the houses are owner occupied and 21.3% of the households are vacant in the Florida Area Statistical Region. The average household income is $30,112 and 71.5% of the residents are living at or above the poverty line while 28.5% live in poverty.
Bywater: The population of the footprint is 3,509. 64.8% of the residents are White, 27.3% are Black, and 5.4% are Hispanic. 51.5% of the houses are renter occupied and 24.6% of the households are vacant in the Bywater Statistical Region. The average household income is $65,997 and 81.9% of the residents are living at or above the poverty line while 18.1% live in poverty.
Parts of the Upper 9th Ward between St. Claude Avenue and N. Claiborne Avenue sit above sea level. However, areas above N. Claiborne Avenue sit below sea level and elevation decreases closer to Florida Avenue. Elevation rises to sea level on the edges of the Upper 9th Ward near the railroad tracks and the Industrial Canal, which creates a small bowl feature in the heart of the Upper 9th Ward.
S&WB Pumping Station #19 is responsible for pumping most of the rainwater out of the Upper 9th Ward neighborhood and eventually to Lake Pontchartrain via the Industrial Canal.
The Upper 9th Ward is plagued by chronic flooding. Some of the causes includes:
- Lack of storm drains in certain areas such as Gallier and Independence Streets between St. Claude and N. Claiborne Avenues and at the bottom of the France Street overpass
- Clogged storm drains
- Illegal driveways blocking functioning of drainage ditches
- Residential Development with a lot of impervious surface and not covered by the City Zoning Ordinance
- Littering which clogs storm drains
- S&WB pumps not functioning properly (for example in August of 2017)
- Run off from impervious surfaces associated with the Port of New Orleans
- More intense rainstorms due to climate change
- Lack of appropriate drainage infrastructure (such as lack of gutters on I-10)
- Imbalance of infrastructure investments, which is an equity issue
- Contractor malpractice such as observed cement and debris poured or run off in storm drains
Green Infrastructure in the Upper 9th Ward
Water Wise Upper 9th Ward has either held or participated at 22 community outreach, education, and social events that have engaged about 546 people in the topic of green infrastructure.
To date, Water Wise Upper 9th Ward has:
- Installed 6 rain barrels
- Installed 6 rain gardens
- Installed 6 french drains
- Planted 111 trees
In total, these projects have a storage capacity of 3,245 gallons of rainwater.
The Water Wise Neighborhood Champions have also created a list of green infrastructure priority projects. This list can be found in the Water Wise Upper 9th Ward Lookbook below.