Meeting/Event Information

CMAA PD Session - Living with Water: The Gentilly Resilience District Projects and Goals

January 23, 2020
11:00 AM CST to 1:00 PM CST
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Venue Location
1515 Poydras St., 5th Floor Auditorium
New Orleans, LA 70112


For 300 years, New Orleans has been a city of three distinct waterfronts – the river, the lake, and the coastal wetlands that make up a third of the City’s land area – and each is essential to the City’s economy, ecology, safety, and culture. For the first two centuries, development was constrained to higher elevations: riverside and natural ridges. Constructed in the early 20th century, New Orleans drainage system collects stormwater in an underground pipe network and pumps the water out of low-lying areas. This early 1900s “new technology” not only revolutionized drainage and sanitation in New Orleans but also created newly-drained land for development, making possible the post-WWII American Dream of home ownership for many residents. Unfortunately, these actions also dried out soils, lowered groundwater levels, and accelerated the subsidence throughout the city. This compaction and sinking of soils is most acute in low-lying neighborhoods and disproportionately impacts low income areas and communities of color.

In 2016, New Orleans was one of 13 communities to win a $141 million grant in the National Disaster Resilience (NDR) Competition organized by HUD and the Rockefeller Foundation. The competition aimed to inspire and support cities working to make themselves more resilient. The City’s winning proposal defined the first ever Resilience District: the Gentilly neighborhood. Gentilly is a diverse neighborhood in New Orleans, and while some homes escaped Hurricane Katrina with no flooding, others were submerged by more than six and a half feet of water. It is a prime example of 20th century urban expansion into drained cypress swamps and is a microcosm of many areas in this region that face elevated environmental and financial risks. Come hear how the City is transforming water from a threat to an asset.




Stephanie Dreher is a professional civil engineer and Senior Project Manager with the City of New Orleans Sustainable Infrastructure Group who manages storm water management and green infrastructure projects in the St. Anthony and St. Bernard neighborhoods within the Gentilly Resilience District. With consulting experience in roadway and pavement design, environmental permitting and storm water management, extensive federal policy knowledge in disaster recovery program management, Ms. Dreher has forged relationships with many dedicated leaders in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas.

In her greatest professional achievement, she spent over five years embedded with Mississippi Emergency Management Agency post-Katrina, assisting architects and engineers in navigating the FEMA’s public assistance program for design / construction of major projects such as the new MS Department of Public Safety Complex and Buccaneer State Park. With almost one billion Federal dollars obligated for roads and public utilities alone, she partnered with local governments, MEMA & FEMA staff to create infrastructure reconstruction programs in the Cities of Waveland ($60 Million), Pass Christian ($20 Million), Long Beach ($20 Million), Gulfport ($100 Million) and Biloxi ($300 Million).



$30.00 Member
$35.00 after 12:00 am January 23
$25.00 Earlybird rate before January 21

$40.00 Non-Member
$45.00 after 12:00 am January 23
$35.00 Earlybird rate before January 21

$10.00 Student
$15.00 after 12:00 am January 23
$5.00 Earlybird rate before January 21


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