TABLE OF CONTENTS
An Inventory of the Records of the Office of Environmental Affairs During his Administration
The Mayor's Office of Environmental Affairs was established to help citizens and government agencies protect the city's air, water, and land. To fulfill its mission, OEA worked with neighborhood groups, business interests, and government agencies to address environmental problems in New Orleans. It sought and utilized resources available for such issues as Brownfields redevelopment and coastal zone permitting/protection. It fielded citizen inquiries on environmental problems of all kinds. The annual Earth Day celebration, regular community meetings, and the Mayor's Environmental Breakfasts were among some of the forums sponsored by OEA. The office also sponsored and supported ordinances, programs, regulations, and laws to protect the city's environment.
In January 2002 the Office of Environmental Affairs identified its top twenty-five accomplishments during the Morial administration as follows:
1. Mayor's Earth Day Celebration: The Mayor's Office of Environmental Affairs (OEA) started celebrating Earth Day in 1995. It has become an annual celebration at the Crescent City Farmers' Market involving numerous public agencies and environmental organizations as well as entertainment and awards. This year (2002) the celebration will be at Joe Brown Park, in coordination with the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, in order to provide more space and allow more involvement from local children.
2. Mayor's Sustainable Business Awards: These awards, begun in 2001, recognize small and large businesses and nonprofit organizations that engage in voluntary practices to reduce waste, energy use and toxic materials. OEA looks for pioneering programs that show a genuine commitment to living and working in harmony with the natural environment. Sustainable practices can range in scope from promoting energy efficiency in the workplace, to zero waste initiatives, to ridesharing programs that reduce emissions.
3. Mayor's Environmental Breakfast: This event occurs monthly from September through May, featuring a different topic each month, generally with a panel of speakers. Some of the topics that have been covered include swimming in Lake Pontchartrain, lead poisoning, groundwater, state legislative issues, nonpoint source pollution, greenspace, and sustainable businesses. The breakfast also serves as a forum for individuals interested in environmental issues to announce events and discuss important issues.
4. Recycling Directory OEA publishes an annual recycling directory, paid for by the Sanitation Department, which for a time was online on the City's home page. It provides information on where to recycle a myriad of materials that cannot be put in the curbside bins. Deputy Director Rodney Littleton is working to get a version published for enclosure in the Times Picayune and/or the Gambit. The directory is updated each spring.
5. OEA Website: In 2001, OEA debuted its website, featuring a calendar of environmental events, links to other environmental agencies and organizations, and information on climate change, brownfields, lead safety, and other issues. The link for the site is: http://int.new-orleans.la.us/cnoweb/oea/html/.
6. Brownfields Websites: Part of OEA's website is an online searchable database of New Orleans brownfields sites. It provides the name and address for sites within the parameters requested by the user and allows the user to send an e-mail to the OEA office asking for more information. Another website, funded by EPA, goes into more detail on each brownfield site so that it can be used by EPA for grant tracking purposes. This website can be found at: http://www.gcr1.com/epa.
7. Speakers Bureaus: In an effort to educate citizens about some of the key issues concerning New Orleans, Mayor Morial charged OEA with forming a Speakers Bureau about lead poisoning, and reestablishing a recycling Speakers Bureau. The Speakers' Bureaus have been in place since February 2001 and have reached 600-630 individuals. Speakers' Bureau members have spoken with members of local neighborhood associations, churches, elementary, middle, and high school students.
8. 8th Annual Cities for Climate Protection Workshop: In 1999, New Orleans joined the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign in an effort to help mitigate the health and environmental risks of climate change. In 2000, OEA coordinated the 8th Annual Workshop of the CCP Campaign at the Fairmont Hotel. Elected officials from 40 jurisdictions and staff from 70 jurisdictions were present to focus on Sustainable Transportation and Public Outreach. Speakers included New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Asphalt Nation author Jane Holtz Kay, Entergy CEO Wayne Leonard, and Richard Glick of the Department of Energy.
9. Emissions Inventory: New Orleans' first commitment to the CCP Campaign was to complete an inventory of municipal and community wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. OEA utilized CCP GHG Emissions Software for its baseline emissions profile. This document was completed in fall 2001.
10. Resolution Passed to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 10% In the spring of 2001, based on preliminary data from the City's baseline emissions inventory, the New Orleans City Council adopted a resolution to decrease GHG emissions by 10% by 2015, a reduction of 32,560 tons.
11. Local Action Plan-Draft Completed: The Local Action Plan is a blueprint for the GHG reductions committed to in the Council Resolution. Much of the reduction will come from municipal building retrofits, but the LAP also looks at waste, water, power, fleets, and procurement. The LAP reviews existing measures, quantifies the GHG reductions from those measures, and lists other activities that can be taken by the various departments to further reduce these emissions. OEA's goal is to have the LAP approved by all departments, Council and Mayor by the end of the administration so the next administration will have a clear-cut guide to climate protection.
12. EPA Climate Protection Award: Mayor Morial is one of 19 individuals and organizations internationally who received a 2000 EPA Climate Protection Award. He was honored for his efforts to protect the climate including being one of the original signatories on an Official Statement on Global Warming forwarded to the White House and Congressional leaders in 1999, hosting the 8th Annual CCP Workshop, hosting a town-hall meeting in 1997 that brought together national and local leaders to discuss the risks of climate change and the vulnerabilities faced by the City of New Orleans, and submitting a successful resolution on Reducing Global Warming at the June 2000 meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
13. Mayor's Conservation Council: Mayor Marc H. Morial of New Orleans established the Conservation Council when he sent an Executive Order to all the municipal department heads ordering them to assign one representative from their departments to go to the meetings on conservation. The purpose of this Council is to provide a more conservation-minded environment within City government.
14. Brownfields Inventory and Database: Brownfields are industrial or commercial properties that are abandoned or underused. Redevelopment is complicated due to real or perceived toxic contamination. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has provided tools that allow us to assess and clean up brownfields, making them more attractive for redevelopment.
15. Environmental Site Assessments: OEA received funding from EPA to conduct environmental site assessments (ESAs) on brownfields sites throughout the city. EPA also conducted some of its own ESAs on local sites. Phase I ESAs provide general information about the property such as geography, former owners and uses and potential contaminants. Phase II ESAs include targeted soil sampling and recommendations for remediation. OEA oversaw the completion of Phase I and II ESAs at 3317-27 Chartres Street, a parcel at the Parks and Parkways Department (2829 Gentilly Boulevard), the former Hendee Court Incinerator, the former Seventh Street Transfer Station and Incinerator, 3101 Erato Street, and 1212 S. Roman Street. Phase I ESAs were completed on 1200 S. Broad Street (with limited sampling) and 2032 Lapeyrouse Street.
16. Completed Brownfields Redevelopment Projects: American Can is the largest Brownfields redevelopment in the City. OEA and the Mayor's Division of Economic Development worked with Historic Restoration Inc. to obtain a $1million Brownfields Economic Development Initiative Grant and a $5 million Section 108 Loan from HUD. HRI leveraged these resources to obtain $42 million in private funds for its completion. Brownfields sites redeveloped with private funding with assistance and/or information from OEA include the former Sears building on Chef Menteur, Copeland's and Public Storage on St. Charles Avenue, and Richards Disposal on Old Gentilly Road. Brownfields sites currently being redeveloped include 8330 Earhart Blvd., 9800 Lake Forest Blvd., 5600 Magazine Street, 3400 Tulane Avenue, and 1712-24 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
17. Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF): In 1999, OEA received a $350,000 grant from EPA to provide low interest loans for clean up of brownfields in New Orleans. Bank One is managing this fund. To date no loan has been made, but there are several interested developers, and as soon as a loan is made, the City is eligible for another $500,000 to add to the loan fund.
18. Local Brownfields Educational Events In May 2000, OEA organized a Brownfields Breakfast with Region 6 Administrator Gregg Cooke and Mayor Marc Morial. The event was co-sponsored by the Chamber and MetroVision. Both Mr. Cooke and the Mayor encouraged participants to become involved in brownfields redevelopment. In October 2001, OEA organized a Brownfields Seminar for Real Estate Professionals that included information on City, Regional, and State Resources, Partners in Brownfields redevelopment, and Insurance and Development.
19. Brownfields Brochures: OEA developed two Brownfield brochures to promote brownfields redevelopment. A BCRLF Brochure highlights the $350,000 fund available for clean-up activities of Brownfield sites. A general Brownfields Brochure, developed in conjunction with the Mayor's Division of Economic Development, MetroVision and Entergy Corporation, highlights the New Orleans Brownfields Initiative and opportunities available through the program. Both brochures provide useful information to real estate professionals, developers and property owners.
20. Municipal Yacht Harbor-draft of ordinance: The bacteria count at the Municipal Yacht Harbor, monitored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, is elevated due to illegal discharge of sewerage from pleasure boats. A free pump out is available and advertised, but many boat owners elect not to use it. Currently the Harbormaster has no legal authority to inspect boats or fine violators. OEA is drafting an ordinance that will provide an enforcement mechanism to prevent illegal discharges.
21. Lead Ordinance OEA coordinated a lead working group that drafted an updated lead ordinance for the City banning the unprotected removal of lead based paint from buildings constructed prior to December 31, 1978, the last year lead was allowed in residential paints. The ordinance was unanimously passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor in September of 2001. The Department of Safety and Permits now has the authority to stop unsafe renovations on building exteriors, which the Department of Health still regulates interiors.
22. Map of New Orleans Landfills: OEA coordinated with the Regional Planning Commission to develop a map of all legal landfills and transfer stations. The purpose of the map was to help prevent illegal dumping by providing the public with the location and contact information of all current landfill sites. Copies of this map have been made available to Safety and Permits and the Sanitation Department.
23. Sewerage and Water Board Inserts: One way to reach a large number of residents is through the Sewerage and Water Board Bill. OEA has used this method to disperse information about both the Home Energy Rebate Option and Conservation Tips. The HERO program provides a rebate to individuals who weatherize their homes. The Conservation Tips insert included information on City's Recycling Directory and as a result many people called for copies.
24. Advocacy for Environmental Justice: Environmental Justice is a difficult area for finding resolutions satisfactory to all parties. OEA has worked on a number of local E.J. sites including: Agriculture Street Landfill, Thompson Hayward Chemical Plant, and Barriere Construction (Hollygrove Neighborhood). While there is rarely a solution that satisfies all stakeholders, OEA takes pride in addressing the needs of the affected communities. In addition, community members know that OEA is a resource to assist them in communicating with other government agencies and private entities.
25. Local Coastal Program: Orleans Parish has a few remaining wetlands in New Orleans east, which are protected by both Corps of Engineers, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) and the City of New Orleans. OEA spent a couple of years administering the Local Coastal Program, which insures that developers do not destroy wetlands without mitigating the loss. Mitigation can involve creation of new wetlands, rebuilding existing wetlands or payment into a fund to restore similar type wetlands.
The records include subject files, apparently from both the Director and the Deputy Director of the Office. They include materials relating to the application for and administration of grants for environmental concerns; materials relating to City of New Orleans environmental initiatives; and materials relating to other agencies and organizations dealing with environmental matters. Among the areas particularly well represented are matters dealing with Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River, and the Louisiana coastal region; the local Earth Day celebrations; and the City's Brownfields program.
These records are organized in a single series arranged in alphabetical order by folder title and in chronological order thereunder.
Restrictions on Access
Available to registered researchers by appointment (contact the archives staff for additional information).
Restrictions on Use
Documents written/created by or for City of New Orleans officials/employees may be used with no restrictions. Copyright to letters written by outside individuals, agencies, and corporations belong to those entities.
See the separate series of OEA records for the period 1979-1994.
Morial, Marc H.
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.
Xavier University of Louisiana.
Environmental agencies--Louisiana--New Orleans.
Environmental policy--Louisiana--New Orleans.
Recycling industry--Louisiana--New Orleans.
New Orleans (La.)--Environmental conditions.
Records of the New Orleans Office of Environmental Affairs, 1994-2002.