Helping New Orleans revitalize—not just rebuild—in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina became one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, causing more than 50 breaches of canal levees and flooding 80 percent of the city of New Orleans. Nearly 9 out of every 10 residents in Southeast Louisiana had to evacuate. In addition to the damage of property and impact on lives, political gridlock kept federal assistance from flowing into the city in the aftermath of the storms.
Through our Rebuilding New Orleans Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation was among the first national foundations to pledge its support, funding an initial $3 million for relief and recovery, and partnering with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to support displaced residents. In 2006, at the invitation of the Louisiana Redevelopment Authority, we committed to helping restart the planning process, providing staff and operational support to produce the Unified New Orleans Recovery Plan (UNOP), focused on flood protection, affordable housing, public services, and state-of-the-art education and health care systems in New Orleans.
In addition, we helped to create the New Orleans Community Revitalization Fund, which has leveraged millions in additional funding from national and local foundations. More than just funders, we continue to leverage our expertise to aid New Orleans on a variety of issues, including historic preservation and redevelopment, land-use models, and redevelopment financing.
Today, ten years after the storm, New Orleans has emerged as a model of urban resilience. Several national publications, including Wired and Fast Company, have recently hailed it as the most entrepreneurial city in the United States, home to countless startups and incubators for innovation. And, most importantly, it has begun the slow, hard work of better integrating marginalized communities.
New Orleans has made incredible, inspiring strides, and is on its way to becoming a global model for resilience by its 300th anniversary in 2018. We continue to work with the city to highlight its successes and address other shocks and stresses through our 100 Resilient Cities network and the Changing Course Lower Mississippi River Delta design competition.
And just as it has for the last decade, The Rockefeller Foundation will continue to be a funder of, a partner to, and a steadfast believer in the people and the future of this incredible city.
What can cities learn from New Orleans?
New Orleans was the first city in this century to so dramatically and visibly confront its challenges head…, President, The Rockefeller Foundation, 2005 – 2017 President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania
The most compelling lesson for me on watching the experience of New Orleans is the importance of…, Associate VP, Managing Director, Asia, The Rockefeller Foundation
We know that the future is uncertain in our changing delta, so being prepared for major shocks and aligning…, Chief Resilience Officer, City of New Orleans