Since our formation in 2006, the CSED has worked hard to advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Lower 9th Ward, which is vital to recovery, rebuilding and reforming our community. It hasn’t been easy,but we have found unprecedented opportunities to bring back our neighborhoods as thriving, energy-independent places to live, work and raise a family.
CSED’s accomplishments range from renewing access to Bayou Bienvenue on the Lower 9’s northern border to reducing energy costs for hundreds of Lower 9 residents through home weatherization efforts.
Advocacy, policy and research accomplishments to date include:
- Natural Environment: Ongoing restoration of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetlands Triangle through access walkways, viewing platforms, signage, the addition of floating islands, and collaborative research with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and other academic, NGO and governmental organizations and institutions. Construction of CSED’s Environmental Learning & Research Center with the assistance of the Tulane School of Architecture.
- Energy-Efficiency: Installation of attic radiant barriers and broad weatherization measures to improve the energy performance of nearly 200 Lower 9 homes – and counting!
- Food Security: Development of the Lower 9th Ward Food Security Council and new urban farming opportunities for the area. CSED supports numerous community garden spaces and advocates for more access to fresh food while encouraging smart business development. Installation of three standing garden beds behind CSED’s Energy Efficiency Center.
- Built Environment: Community mapping to assess every parcel of land within the Lower 9 as it relates to ownership, usage and other critical data collection to better inform citywide planning. Finishing and moving into CSED’s Energy Efficiency Center.
- Volunteer Coordination: Facilitating over 1,000 volunteers and volunteer groups per year on more than 500 neighborhood projects – from painting and weatherization to the installation of rain gardens, street beautification and playground restoration.
- Advocacy: Closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), research and testimony against the Industrial Canal Lock Replacement project, and continued Corps of Engineers reform efforts.
- Educational Resources: CSED’s growing library of materials include The Lower 9th Ward Resource Guide, A Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide, and The Lower 9 Reporting and Information Guide. The CSED takes seriously the importance of being a community resource. In addition, we publish a weekly e-newsletter, send informational mailers and host numerous community events, meetings and outings.
- Launching The Gratitude Garden: It includes a public citrus fruit park, meditative labyrinth, wetlands nursery, green infrastructure garden and much more. Our nursery includes 1,200 cypress tree seedlings at the CSED, which will be planted throughout the coastal wetlands for flood prevention.
We provided additional support to:
- Historic Green, an all-volunteer, 10-day working event that combines sustainable design and historic prevention projects throughout the Lower 9.
- “How Safe, How Soon”, which informs residents of the risks and opportunities of living in region so shaped by water.
- “Connect the 9”, an effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety across the St. Claude Avenue Bridge – in collaboration with the University of New Orleans.