While the city and the mayor's office had no official plans to commemorate the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the federal flood, local politicos announced their participation in several memorial services. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, City Council members and area parish presidents all committed to anniversary events.
In the Lower 9th Ward, several groups highlighted a different kind of recovery. Last week, Global Green, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association, the Make it Right Foundation and the Sierra Club partnered with bike activism and events group NOLA Social Ride for a bike tour of the neighborhood's "green" renaissance and development, which in the last six years has become a model for sustainability and green design.
The tour highlighted Global Green's Holy Cross Project, Make It Right homes, and the Bayou Bienvenue platform, a community-build project that widened the floodwall between the bayou and neighborhood and created an observation deck.
Stephane Tonnelat, a research fellow with France's National Center of Scientific Research, says because of the neighborhood's hand in projects like this, "no one in the neighborhood, in the city, or in the United States will question the Lower 9th Ward's claim to be a fully fledged part of the city. In fact, by making the bayou visible, the deck has also helped make the neighborhood viable. ... It is a testimony to the shareable power that a fully fledged public space, however small it may be, can give to a neighborhood that is striving to survive in a risky location."
The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development and the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio also released a plan for Lower 9th Ward revitalization projects (the L9 Waterfront) over the next decade — including St. Claude Bridge pedestrian and bicycling connections, improved lighting, and wetlands research. Other potential projects include an amphitheater, art installations, a market and playgrounds. The report says the Lower 9 is poised to become a "unique place to live and work, a destination for arts and culture ... and a recreational hub for New Orleans residents as well as visitors from around the world." — Alex Woodward