St. Bernard Parish Master PlanChalmette, Louisiana
Commissioned by the Citizens Recovery Committee, this post-Katrina planning framework for St. Bernard Parish has been designed to stimulate the recovery of Louisiana’s hardest hit parish. Rather than attempt to restore the area to its pre-Katrina condition, a new vision for a place with more dynamic trajectory is advanced. Following an analysis of the region’s form and systems, a series of public streets integrated with a system of canals chiefly perpendicular to the prevailing lengthwise street system is proposed to create not only an enhanced infrastructure but also sets of discernible districts. A defensible mitigation zone along the lowest edge of the land adjacent to the 40 Arpent Canal is recommended, creating a linear retention area and parkland adjacent to the marsh. Community, history, industry, the school system, and faith-based institutions are fundamental building blocks, from which a land use plan to strengthen these surviving assets and transform deficiencies is generated. Specific project-related areas of the plan are identified and developed to illustrate what St. Bernard Parish can become. These areas include a medical center, commercial district, government center, new mixed-use neighborhood, a fishing village, and a redeveloped Old Arabi with riverfront plaza and park. Developed with an insistence upon the site-specific and particular, the plan envisions a new St. Bernard that is at once achievable and desirable. The firm received a Merit Award from the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the plan.