Acknowledging that New Orleans is susceptible to repeated flooding, this project offers a redevelopment plan for the Tulane/Gravier Neighborhood, with flood escape plans as its central focus. New Orleans’ biggest fear—a reprise of Katrina—is acknowledged and addressed by creating architectural elements that not only provide for evacuation but also help to unify a neighborhood ripped apart by the unfortunate construction of Interstate 10 along the Claiborne corridor.
Inspired by the mandatory fire-escape code, the devised system combines a series of hatches, catwalks, towers, and scaffoldings for each block. Overlaid on the existing built environment, the escape elements are illustrated in orange.
The reality that many in New Orleans do not own automobiles complicates the issue of evacuation. The terrible lessons of Katrina inspired the idea of elevating portions of Interstate10 and providing a protected environment beneath them for people to gather when floods threaten. In times of flooding, the multi-level, wave-like structures represented here accommodate evacuation by both boat and bus. Their usual function, however, is to serve the neighborhood as social spaces for gathering.
The proposed elevated structures sited under Interstate 10 could accommodate such community uses as parks, markets, parade grounds, and a Katrina memorial. These “stitching” structures connect one side of the Claiborne corridor with the other, uniting neighborhoods long divided by the cement artery that is the highway.
Lastly, stitching structures have dual functions—the “emergency stitch” for evacuation and the “parade stitch” for community celebration.