Feature Short

Elevated New Orleans Buildings Pass a Flood Test

A housing project that replaced one damaged by Hurricane Katrina was designed high enough to withstand a flood last year.

June 5, 2018

Alphonse Ponson was only 11 years old when Hurricane Katrina darkened the skies and lashed Tremé, his New Orleans neighborhood. At the time, he lived with his mother in the Lafitte public housing project—896 units in three-story brown brick buildings.

Ponson watched from the family’s second floor window as the muddy stormwaters filled the streets, flooding the apartments on the first floor. Ponson evacuated first to the New Orleans Superdome and then later by bus to Houston’s Astrodome with his aunt. For nearly a month he was separated from his mother. The family returned to New Orleans six months later. They lost just about everything in the flood.