Who’ll Stop the Rain?
There’s a change coming in New Orleans. A paradigm shift from the same ‘ol same ‘ol way of doing things to a better way. New Orleans is the first great American city to take this bold step towards a solution for flooding.
New Orleans is below sea level. Streets, homes and business flood not only during hurricanes but with normal everyday rain events. Impervious concrete and asphalt blanket the city and create flash flood events on a frequent basis.
Storm water too often overwhelms city drainage systems and floods businesses and homes causing damage and distress.
After years of concerted effort, concerned citizens, businesses and local government have put forth new regulations that will help mitigate flooding going forward.
Permeable pavement must be used by law for any new commercial parking lot or paving site. No more impervious concrete or asphalt. Ordinance No. 32,757, effective Sept 5, 2019.
How did this happen? Well it’s been years in the making.
Jay Nix, owner of the iconic Parkway Bakery, home of the world’s best poor boy sandwiches and frequently listed on the annual New York Times America’s best sandwich list, was the first business owner to step up. Jay had a parking lot that needed repair and expansion, flooded frequently hurting his business. (Go check out the place, have a great poor boy sandwich and marvel at Jay’s photos with ex-Presidents, boxers, and stars) He did a Google search and found TRUEGRID, the world’s strongest permeable pavers. In June 2015, Jay installed 30,000 sf of TRUEGRID PRO PLUS in his parking lot along to provide a 100% pervious surface with stormwater detention in the crossection. The lot has absorbed and detained water through storm after storm.
In 2015, Parkway hosted an outdoor event with architects, engineers and representatives from TRUEGRID to demonstrate the benefits of permeable paving. Various initiatives grew from there through the efforts of people like Dana Eness of the Urban Conservancy and local stormwater experts Quality Site Works (QSM).
So today we celebrate a paradigm shift. Part of the solution. Concrete and asphalt are no longer allowed in new parking lot construction in the city of New Orleans.
Who’ll stop the rain? Well it’s not going to stop- but it will get absorbed as nature intended in new permeable parking lots going forward. Congratulations to all involved to become the first American city to take this positive step. This is a big deal.