City Park has a role to play in flood control

Newell Normand
Friday, September 14th
Newell talks to City Park Improvement Association CAO Robby Devinny about how "retention ponds" could help keep New Orleans neighborhoods dry in case of street flooding

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Good morning new lawns in a beautiful morning it is and as I'm sure everyone has been watching what's going on an East Coast our thoughts and prayers go out to them that's storms seem to just be sitting on their doorstep. Painfully been watching it through the night didn't go to bed till late last evening woke up this morning. And it didn't scheme to move a quarter of dementia and I'll on. I'm not sure what's going on but hopefully things are working out in some areas it seems like it's not as bad as it. Originally anticipated you prepare for the worst and obviously hope for the best. A one I would go let everybody know that the at Tulane cancer centers hosting the fifth annual Noll of blue do drawn on Saturday. They'll need to come out for that it's a great town they always put on a great event. It's going to be held the the race begins at 5 PM Saturday Tulane university's uptown campus in the Gibson quad. And just a reminder that September is prostate cancer awareness. Month. We have a great show lined up for you today we will be talking two Kristian garic and Jeff Palermo about the saints and L issue. They both have defining moments in their season. This coming weekend big big game for real issue at Auburn. Always tough to win away in the saints. Host the Cleveland Browns here in the city New Orleans and we'll see you moved to area hopefully one and one and get out of that. Loser bracket and begin to move up. In a second are we going to be it's no filter Friday. Are you kidding me moments let's talk about that in the second hour I'll start off and then we'll hear from you guys. Joining me in the studio. Is Robby did any chief operating officer of the city park improvement association the fifth largest urban park. In the country most people don't realize is bigger than Central Park. It's a huge park in fact buzz feed Jess said. They are one of sixteen. Parks in the world. That you should visit. I don't know what else there is to say. But other than Robby welcome to the show up into the studio. No thanks thanks for having me congratulations on your first anniversary well I believe you've been doing this for a year or. Yeah thank you so much arena you know wanted to take this opportunity first to start off with. You know congratulations to you guys as well the work that you all have done in the aftermath of Katrina it's in a city park. The momentum that's been created so many improvements. There are. Having a four year old granddaughter and visiting a park and be an able to spend some time out there is is moments that we have cherished. And it creates an opportunity for the citizens of the greater New Orleans area today to visit an incredible park. Which so many different activities so many different functions gone on all the time. Dog you guys can have ten different things going on in the park at one Tom and not even know are all gone on in the park at one time. Oh it's crazy thank you for vandals are staff would say it feels like as. A hundred things going on at once thought sure it. I know we you know we it wasn't easy getting here we had a master plan that was adopted right before the storm hit so it was kind of our roadmap to recovery. But it was truly. The community. That helped us get to where we are I think it was a slap in the face that people said man look at this jewel in my night come back and everybody stepped up and made aware it is that I and we appreciate it. In other than new Laguna knew the the new golf course Children's Museum is. Getting near completion is a correct. Have the Children's Museum has cut scheduled for an opening sometime in the spring of 2019 with the sculpture garden Sydney dust off sculpture garden expansion absolutely. Like you said there's something always going on overly proud to. Walked through the sculpture garden at least a dozen times and well we always see something that I didn't see that the time before it's amazing to beautiful asset for the senate bill the reason we're talking to you today is that. There may be another role. That you guys and talking about water management. Because of the huge amount of acreage. Exactly what is it thirteen hundred years thirteen hundred acres. Smack dab in them you know in the middle of the northern section of the city very close to Lake Pontchartrain a number of major arterial during its canals in that area as well it seems as though. Logistically you guys are positioned in a great place and tell us about what role yell could possibly play as it relates to this issue. One though you're exactly right you know we have miles of lagoons thirteen hundred acres of total land and we don't participate in this cities. Watershed runoff in any way the only water that the park has on its property is its lagoon system. And the runoff from its interior streets. And you know we think we can utilize this land mass and lagoon system to slow down the Warner that is making its way to the city's pumping station. No other has been some confusion. That yell already do in this yell at managing your own. Water issue correct. Well that's true we week and we're not doing it well this is. You know the way the lagoon system was designed has an and its need for the way it operates has changed. Over the hundred some odd years of the park. Originally look good system was off fresh water. It is now brackets we take all of a quarter from buy you Saint John he comes through Arlington system and goes right out into the city's drainage system. It does not participate in any other intake of water. We think that by dredging these lagoons. Creating some shelving putting in more bios whales and wetlands. And take in the water from lake Vista weakened weekends slow down the M. Up to a thousand acre gallon so of order they gets into the drainage system to get toll punt return. So that gives in theory time for the pumps to catch up and it's one of those things I can go on come off going to come off and they've. In Jefferson Parish Dave how to toyed with this they have the pontiff playground. That they Illinois basins in the holy basin and they've also done some retention ponds all along your heart expressway and some of the lancet they have there. Then and have attempted to try and and connect those actually as they move the drainage water from the south to the north that sounds. Crazy but that's actually what we do. Here so when you think about this thirteen hundred acres. And you guys being kind of a quick quasi state agency which is kind of been kind of the jurisdictional. Hurdles that we have to get over. It seems as though the city's very receptive now to thinking about incorporating. City park and you guys I mean you told me for years that you guys have been. Very open and receptive to thinking about this because it will lead to nothing but winners. If we believe so no you and I've cherry conversations. You know unite both presiding Jefferson Parish and are familiar with that affect my home at the time a Katrina was south of the railroad tracks between in the holy basin. So we know what happened there and Jefferson Parish. You know toyed with the model with the way basing going to upon a playground. And that's an area is a little bit different than what we're proposing here because we're not proposing to pump to city park we're talking about taking gravity Warner. Right now lake destitute north of the park a lot of people don't know this. But that it's subsurface drainage in lake Vista. Doesn't even go to the most Jason canal at Orleans he goes under or siphoned. On to New Orleans canal all the way to the seventeenth street canal. So what that does is it creates I had wall to the water in the lake view that is also participating in that same drainage system. Going to seventeenth street canal so what this proposes is that we change gravity fed storm. Run often missed each subsurface drainage. Bring it through that three mile long park of the lagoon system. Bios whales. You know a mixture of quarter and earth and and and visit vegetative mature on slow this quarter down. If you know what's going on right now with every time we have a thunderstorm in the city everybody is. You know let's get the war riding here is uniting our pumps can't keep up our pumps can't keep up what would we don't have the money to change the infrastructure and acidic. We you know to be very easy to say let's go get bigger parts let's put him more pipe but that's not really the answer. The answer is we got to live with this war if you think about it. I don't have to tell you you know I've talked about the Metairie ridge it ran all the way from river it's a gentility northeast. Is it distributes Terry of built by the Mississippi River everything north of that in so called new Metairie. Was swamp land well at city park we're faced with the same thing everything north of 610 roughly. Was swampland. So win all those trees were felled some hundred years ago and we urbanized that part of the city all of the left over organic material in the soils there. Decay wrought. So what happens with Katrina it was a perfect example it illustrate what happens it's like if you take a sponge. If the sponges wet. It's it's it's full. It's not it's all dried up so look at the streets in the in the land of light. It's like. Shrivel and up. So let's stop right there we gotta get to a break we want your commute to 60187 near Texas at 8787. And we're gonna continue this conversation as to how. The fifth largest urban park in the country can help manage. Water in our time of need we'll be right back. Her black you're talking about managing water and Robby one of the things that I found it very interesting is that. In their ramp up to this hurricane on the East Coast. Lindsey Graham and a number of the members of congress said they weren't really too much worried about the wind it was about managing the war where the runoff was gonna go and and they Brooke now most of those guys that said that North Carolina and South Carolina and not set up for water runoff and it's always causes a problem for them. And continues to be a problem for hours. Presents itself and a little bit of a different way but it's a problem for us as well. Oh absolutely no in your right look at the weather forecast in the way they make predictions now it's not we learned it and it in them once it affected. We'll plus. You know what a storm sits there it don't matter what category it is it's what is that storm surge in addition now when they. Tell you what's gonna happen related to a storm they've they've. Involve more of what storm surge and that let's go to the call on Cisco to James and well on line one let's say you James. Of the art is with people and we had a couple who are me go. And we would have been called. We thought. Little please it would borrow a little small you. Well. Or. Are there real mild but nobody. On the ground and use the built. On top. A lot. Revisited. Would go along with batted in one out walk from. 00. Utley they certainly. Did you know if we could buy it but if we could buy the board the ship oil pipeline that we. It would also. Put them in. And agreed to vote. Right thank you James thank you can't. You know Robbie it's not coincidence that in in the aftermath of Katrina that places it stayed dry where the original. Agents came to this very in. Yeah they say it'll take about a whole housing market where today right I found high ground. Yeah a lot smaller than us that built our house on misled about content and you know let's try to get everybody talks about their piling right right. You're exactly right. So when we you know it moving forward. I know that there's been some plans saying in you guys may have been left out of the initial plans that are very much in in the thick of things now and in communicating with folks in and in there has been a plan that's been developed that. That looks at this thirteen hundred acres is somewhat of a gentleman figured out how they can take. This sub region of the city because there's no. One solution it's gonna dress and everything your city because of the topography era you know so you you have to attack it in small geographic. Sections of the civil right and obviously. This would be one. Absolutely the whole city's electronically if I mean different the soils are different summer on ridges summer you know I don't go back to my point about. New Metairie and north of city park when you everything has to be pol driven to be supported. There's so much organic material and know clay and that and that. In that land that when the Warner is evacuated from the sub surface it. Streets crumble. You know I think if you look at all these plans are what the engineers tell us. And I know there's pause that there is any time you talk about Holden Warner. You know we go back to Katrina that's how we're talking about we're not talking and in indication from mullah levees failure we're talking about a ten year reign of general hunter your main. Rain event this talk about managing what happens there were concerned about what happens every weekend now. With a major thunderstorm it's like. Well we know of the pumps can't take the current water. And when a change in response anytime soon. So what do we do we do nothing or we look at how we manage this war. We wanna be at the table to participate nasty engineers of sugar away and you don't know James burn up a good point. You know were park right so we have a lot of programming and we have a recreational mean there's ways to put bias whales in new quarter. Water holding capacity that people can actually come directly at the park and use it when it's. Not in a torrential downpour we can do canoeing we can do fishing we can do. Lots of different things if you look around the country and certainly with the Dutch did. There's a way to successfully live with Warner and aid these pumps slow this. Evacuation mentality we have get it out here as fast as we can it doesn't war. And you know did the other challenge for us and what a lot of people forget is that it's not necessarily. It needs to be a huge thunderstorm we can have a thunder cloud over a one half mile square area. That sits there and drops a significant amount of rain and causes an issue for us with back up and trying to catch up and and trying to get the water. Off the surface into the subsurface removal of. Absolutely. You know. There's vegetation approach to this to an oak tree depending on its size can drink anywhere from fifty to 200 gallons a day really rupture killed when a tree. So idea yeah absolutely. That's an option so. Eat visit. In totality citywide we need to look at you know we just adopt the punt Tilly for we just didn't do it but that city just did open toll project. Which is a great example how you can. Use water and slow it down. From evacuating to the city system and normal you know we talk about the city being different all over. What had a city park affect people uptown how does it affect neighborhoods on related to city park. You gotta think about it does affect it because it's watershed going to the same system right. All of these neighborhoods like I told you a lot of people only you probably don't know there Warner's competing against lake Vista because you would think that lake justice canal. Would be the Orleans gonna right it's not. Now in a same same thing happens in in Metairie right we drain water south. To turn around and go north right and you know it it just seems to be a very inefficient way but that's the way the topography works in our little sub region of the parish. And in the way that you have to move it in order to get to the canals right you know which is which are always a challenge. When we come back on attacks fine talking about pollution and what should be the concerns there is as. As we move water through the looking system and and otherwise we won't hear from you 260187. In our Texas. At 8787. AM when we come back we're also gonna talk about. A new project that they have gone on in in city park think a lot of the kids are going to be very excited about it. This project it tends to sometimes speak a little scary. So we wanna hear from you again to 60187. Air Texas and 87870. We're talking a Robbie divinity chief operating officer of the city park improvement association. Stay with this will be right back after the break this is fuel. On debit Libya. We're back to we're talking about the plan to use city part to help drain the city's waterlogged streets actually arm. Sister station Paul Murphy over a WW LTV. Did a story on this talking about. And this. You know potential program that we can get involved in there are some hazard mitigation. Money Marconi wetlands in north lake improvements as well as the Louisiana Children's Museum lake. In talking about diverting storm water. On attacks sly and Robbie we have folks that are talking about concerns. Relative to pollution let's talk about that. Well. It is it is good concern everybody should have the currently what happens in the park is that all of the subsurface drainage. Of the roadways parking lots. They all fall into our lagoon system and that ties into the city's drainage system and goes on to a party train without filter. So all the diesel oil any any vehicle emissions. You know it any kind of pollution. The same thing that happens throughout the city crash site correct. And our and this remediation would would treat this actually differently and would be Mort ecological sound. Correct if you read the reports. You know all of the vegetation that we can use as a filter. Not going to slow down the flooding process but as a filter for this quarter before it's discharged. Or even if it's not discharged directly in the early parts train but it's discharged through evaporation. It stops the pollution that we are your country earning. Two to lake project. Right threatens gonna talk Luntz talked to Luis went and looked on line to what say you Louis. Well thank you know. It all out worked at the it it. Oh yeah we go back at that and it ought to be bought out there who build off. The right. You mentioned about oak trees are much water that they picked up. At oak trees take in L probably. Drive rupiah has greatly. It to oak trees. Oh. Who all. Were put pressure on the street. They weren't there at the end of their life cycle. You know there's different. Variations of trees throughout the park. Over cup votes. Eleven different species if you will of trees they were edited it into their life not a real tree you know. We have the largest group of older trees probably in the world we some barbers tell us that some of our trees date back to. Four and 500 years old I just under article believe there. But. That was the reason it was not for any of some of those at dot Agilent and I was gonna and you know the big Alley evokes that it is iconic in the park they grew up on no mourn Roosevelt mall. We actually had to take some of those people were concerned that you're gonna lose that they can't be there but those aren't live votes and they don't have the longevity. That. Different species hands so they have to come out but were re planning. You know any time that any time on the weekend. I. Yeah I mean that a good thing thank you for thank you gonna call or excuse me I think you know everything there from a vegetation standpoint goes to a life cycle right so you're. You're always. Rehabilitating. And bring an avenue and turning it over and you know it's kind of the same issue that they're fighting in California. With. Getting rid of the underbrush. Thinning and things of that nature of the other trees can survive in a much healthier fashion and not try out in. Not be a fire hazard and things of that nature it's the same thing and every power. Yeah I mean if you think about it Knoll how many storms before. Records have as the trees scene in the park and what looked like when Katrina hit. We immediately saw what the effect was Swiss city park was probably the last place in the city to drain right and understandably so we got to protect. Human life and personal assets so we held quarter longer than anybody in the city. So if you did an evaluation of what we lost we lost over 2000 treason to train system we've planted 6500. Now we've had live oaks unaffected by the practice Warner. All the maples in the park immediately gone right. If it. I bet she is sycamore trees above could you could kill that true or not you can accurate data to get that much talent and a Chinese callow youth at. I think they multiplied I think it was practice Warner who had had. That would mean that it that that's that's always. The challenge so we gotta we gotta get to another break we're gonna talks about a and a new program the job have coming up or or new opportunity shoots and I think the kids are going to be very excited about this and you guys are feverishly working on it and speak and arraigned in a rain and water and I needed to go away for low while some get this event that's right we'll be right back after the break this new rule Norman and Robbie divinity from the city park improvement association. On WWL. We'll be right back. We're back we've been talking about this serious topic of water management and we should take that seriously so let's get to a net a little. More lighthearted maybe a little scarier topic. You guys are announcing the scout island scream park which is a venue for Halloween. I'm looking at some of the this stuff that you all have that you are going to be providing. Let me just tell you what if some of the names. Eight acres. Will be transformed into a land of terror. With so many different venues the devils Walt pointed territory. Zombie outbreak battlefield. Chris Korean factory on it on house had sort of fear fright zone. The horsemen strike zone blood buck even fri sun. The crack in beer and spirits pirate music club that's Robby kept carnival rides. And more and I'm looking at some of the pictures of this stuff I mean. This is lake yeah you just described it is being Disney esque in this and greatest and just. Trails you have a wooded. Trail low walking walking trail area that's going to be completely on this looks like over the top. I I I'd have to agree with and that's why we're excited about it we. Three years ago I met Jeff born owner of the mortuary as the video festival and we got to talking about how important Halloween used to be the city park a lot of people remember the Charles thirty. Honda has appealed swim yeah absolutely. And we already do celebration in the oaks and have been doing it for years and it's become such a family tradition. We start talking about Halloween. In the historical importance to city Parkinson enormous and an opportunity here and he still runs the mortuary and opens actually on September 22. So we took three years to do and developed this thing and Noelle you're right I mean we are so excited about it did the attractions are going to be. Unbelievable and we wait I must say that was that we thank intercom for being one of our. Inaugural year sponsors. Absolutely I mean I'm looking at the layout of this thing and scout islands always been a great venue where any number of reasons. I remembered taken my kids there to play soccer games and had the soccer fields that don't did they still have those up the always glad to soccer field those and you know I mean it's just an incredible piece a land and it looks like yell or maximizing almost every square foot about it. We're trying to begin a freakish kid disarray in a stop and let us that this is just aren't a lot of I don't have. That's ironic righted so according to this the opening night is going to be October. Fifth well in advance correct Halloween and will actually continues through November the third which is long wrong. Correct it's going to be a long long event like celebration in the axis through the month and in a November December tickets on sale now on our web site. And yet October 5 is our opening night there's a chance to buy a VIP. Preview party ticket to win includes food and beverage. We're really excited about it notes here one. We hope the public. Comes out and. Well it if if we had the success there that he's had at the mortuary because there's hardly deny you go by there and is not a law. Right at and wait waiting to get in yes I've never been one of the big horror movie. Go to guys. And I've never been one of the ones that go to the heart guys had a lot of their. You're going to the mortuary ask pat on the screen in part this here I had to do it for business purposes I thought that. If I'm telling you know leave it you're right pick if he does a first class job and we're glad to be a partner with name and we're very excited about this event. But you know this this highlights a fact of have taken a jewel that we have with in the city and transforming it into so many different activities. For the benefit of adults kids and otherwise. You know out there I knew the putt putt thing has been huge. The rides out there with the with the school arrests they always have their field troops out there has been huge. The tennis facilities soccer. Conserved his organ marry up people you know their weddings I mean it's suggests. And so many different venues and and I think the riding stables the driving range from golf for an analyst just goes on and on about. The diversity of all the activities that go on in city park. And it's exciting to be a part of it's success post-Katrina. It's truly a regional park in his touched so many people's lives over the years I mean. What makes us feel great is all the stories that people tell us about what they did years ago at city park. Your right Noelle I mean it's it to Jules and I think Katrina the threat of losing that it it it Katrina. Really made it to where what it is today people took an interest. Index and back to the the Halloween venue this scout islands spring park. We're getting some tax about how much of VIP thing is and as prices who runs the gamut from eight dollars and twenty dollars and get a ticket or I'm. On right now for purchase and there's a description of what the different pricing levels are so the VIP party if you wanted to we're open you can buy general admission tickets for opening night. If you wanted to do the VIP level take and its 99 dollars. And includes student food and beverage. And you'll have a website we did. And it is Scott Allen scream park dot com they're against very appropriate very for a all right stout island screen to put on your count on god you are going. Put it on your calendar as well October 5 through November 3 we're gonna get to a break gives a call 260187. Near Texas at 87870. This is tool and David. We're back and we've been talking to Robbie did any chief operating officer of the city park improvement association under blue runner opinion poll would you like to see city part become a partner with the city for water run off using retention pond 71% of respondents say. Yes. Which is a good thing and back to the scout island screen part dot com your tell me that it you know that between out of some of the other activities they'll have to the Christmas season it. Creates a little bit over 300 seasonal jobs and update it any interest. In working at the scout island screen part of venue you go to scout island scream park dot com. Robbie final thoughts. Our thanks for having me in again congratulations on your first year and comes great show. It you know I think. It's no secret how important our parking is to the region. Regarding the Warner plan it's another effort Abbas to participate in some way to help the city. So we're dynamic right and the public realizes that we're here for recreational means we're here. And this is another avenue I think we can help in this. In management of the Warner in the city. A religious Ghana scream park we are excited about it Knowles right we do have. Openings available for anybody that interest didn't come and you know try their hand at being a. You Jewish cronies some pictures of some of the stuff that this that's going to be out there yeah I mean that this. This is this is Disney like yeah there's an equality just says this is not. You know run of the mill. Stuff that you see that this is real. Yet this Israel this is all the original stop that is being created for this event in a Tennessee and another on a house. Yes it tickets are online right now it's our screen part dot com. And if your issue should again in applying to work during the event or celebration in the oaks you can go to to web sites for the sky on. Scott Allen scream Parker to Scott scout island scream part icon. And you can visit our new Orleans city park. Website for employment opportunities with celebration you know. All righty well we thank you so much I know you've been busy and and you wanna get back to scout islanders are working on it because it's the suns actually out today and it's not raining yeah I'm sure you've the other don't profess. Thanks again no appreciate accomplish a few things in an have to out. I wish the best of luck in this water management project a really believe it's it's gonna take out of the box thinking. Being able to leverage the natural resources that we have available to us today. Using it in a Smart an innovative way in order to address the challenges that we have. As it relates to art topography here in our weather here and everything else. That creates these challenges so that we can. I don't live a peaceful life and not go to bed at night wondering whether or not our cars in a float away or right we're gonna have an issue here there we have or otherwise and it's gonna be that collaborative effort and collective effort of all the leaders. Across the city and in the region actually because what's good for new loans is good for Jefferson and vice Versa and or shore and otherwise. And you know I knew you get visitors from all over the state to city park. To any number of reasons and I know with the Children's Museum moved in there. I mean that's going to be absolutely huge because as many folks that visit is that in a warehouse district where there was no parking. In very difficult to get to I think it's going to be even more successful. Out there at city park so thank you offer your efforts and thanks for coming in tonight thanks conference thanks trap and all running in the next hour. No filter Friday we're gonna talk about anything that you want to talk about so many different things happening at the present time. We'll check in at the news break out with the weather far folks out there in the east we continued to. Have our them in our thoughts and prayers this thing is gonna linger around. For them for much longer than they want that's for sure. And but hopefully not longer than anticipated. Because there there's going to be a significant number of challenges that they will be. Fighting as it relates that water runoff. As well. So stay with us we wanna hear from you about your no filter Friday and you're are you kidding me moment of the two weeks stay with this this is no rule on Davida via.