After 15 years in the making, the Waggonner & Ball team joined the Sisters of Saint Joseph and City of New Orleans leadership as they gathered to break ground for the Mirabeau Water Garden, a 25-acre site that will serve as a public amenity and stormwater detention system. The “blue-green” park will help alleviate local flooding and subsidence by taking advantage of the site’s geology and location within the urban watershed, while offering residents a serene recreational landscape near the urban center.
Formerly a convent for the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the parcel lies in Gentilly between Bayou St. John and the London Avenue Canal. The project was conceived during Waggonner & Ball’s collaborative Dutch Dialogues® New Orleans process (2008), elaborated through the firm’s Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan (2013), and funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development resilience grants (2016). A flagship project of the Gentilly Resilience District, the Water Garden will use a combination of conventional engineering and nature-based features to divert stormwater from the city’s drainage system, along with runoff from neighboring streets, and store and clean the water as it flows through the landscape, allowing it to infiltrate into a unique, ancient sand strata present at the site.
The Mirabeau Water Garden will become a campus for water research, demonstrating best practices for Living with Water® in the city’s lowest-lying and most vulnerable neighborhoods.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Infrastructure Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Joe Threat, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Interim General Superintendent Ron Spooner, Councilmember Eugene Green, Sisters Pat Bergen and Joan LaPlace with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and Paris Oaks/Bayou Vista Neighborhood Association President Walterine Griffin were present for the groundbreaking.