This series is intended to inform and support ongoing flood recovery efforts and long term resilience-building for communities throughout our state. Produced with support from the Walton Family Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Rising Above series will highlight best planning practices and implementation tools that state and local leaders can use within our specific geographic, regulatory, political, and cultural context.

These papers will assist state agencies, elected officials, and local leaders in maximizing the returns on investment of limited recovery dollars by incorporating resilience-building measures into the recovery process and daily governmental operations.

Making the Case for Resilience (March 2017)

Resilience has emerged as a crucial planning strategy for cities and states as they seek to secure their futures against the increasing frequency, skyrocketing costs, and variable nature of disaster. Traditional disaster management approaches anticipate the impacts of acute disruptions such as hurricanes and oil spills, but resilience adds a focus on strengthening the underlying systems of infrastructure, governance, economy, information, and social networks that largely determine how well a city, town or region functions on a daily basis and during times of disaster. 

However, what constitutes resilience varies from one community to another. Every place is unique – and nowhere is this more true than Louisiana. What resilience entails depends on the particular characteristics of a place. Adapted from the traditional notion of resilience as the capacity of a system to maintain or recover functionality in the event of disruption or disturbance, resilience for regions, states, parishes, and towns can be described as: “The capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems ... to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

Raise the Roof: Structural Elevation in Flood-Prone Louisiana (June 2017)

Resilience entails reducing economic damage from weather events. In Louisiana, elevating homes and businesses is key for protecting people, assets, and investment. This paper explores what local leaders can do to support the practice of elevating homes and businesses in a manner that benefits property owners and the community as a whole. 

Elevation is the most popular flood risk reduction strategy - and potentially the most effective. It is therefore important that we make it affordable and widely available, and ensure that proven best practices are applied consistently throughout communities to achieve the maximum benefit and value. The recommendations outlined here are intended to assist local leaders and the communities that rely upon them in implementing structural elevations to the greatest advantage. 

retain, detain -- then drain! stormwater management for louisiana's communities (october 2017)

Though Louisiana has been contending with the challenges of managing water throughout its history, the combination of outdated infrastructure, alterations to natural landscapes, and increases in precipitation associated with climate change is resulting in more flooding and increased flood risks for residents and businesses.  

This brief focuses on stormwater management best practices and policies from across the United States.