The Mirabeau Water Garden will become one of the largest urban wetlands in the country and a campus for water research, demonstrating best practices for construction and urban water management in the city's lowest-lying and most vulnerable neighborhoods. The site is a 25-acre parcel in the Filmore neighborhood of New Orleans, between Bayou St. John and the London Avenue Canal, that once was home to the Sisters of St. Joseph's motherhouse. The land was donated to the City of New Orleans by the congregation on the condition that it be used to enhance and protect the neighborhood to “evoke a huge systemic shift in the way humans relate with water and land.”
The project was conceived through Waggonner & Ball's Dutch Dialogues initiative following Hurricane Katrina, was further developed through the firm's Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, and will be realized as part of the City's Gentilly Resilience District. The project will divert stormwater from the city’s drainage system, store and clean up to 10 million gallons of diverted stormwater, allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground, capture runoff from neighboring streets, and provide an educational and recreational amenity that demonstrates how natural processes can be harnessed to enable more sustainable forms of water management. As a demonstration project, Mirabeau Water Garden will be a model for other open spaces and institutional sites throughout the city and region.
The initial phase of this project is funded by a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and the second phase is the flagship project of the Gentilly Resilience District, which leverages funding from HUD's National Disaster Resilience Competition award to the City of New Orleans.