Rebuilding & Redeveloping New Orleans: A Push For A More Sustainable Future

Feb. 19, 4:10 pm, Weinmann Hall, Room 357

In the years since Katrina, New Orleans has seen tremendous change – as communities strove to rebuild what they lost, they also used the opportunity to include more “green” practices during construction. This panel will discuss community efforts to encourage sustainable construction and land uses in New Orleans, and whether it is possible to develop a more resilient community without displacing the communities that reside there.

CLE Materials: Thomas Presentation

Pres Kabacoff, Founder and CEO of HRI Properties


Dana Eness, Executive Director, Urban Conservancy

Dana Eness has been Executive Director of the Urban Conservancy since 2007, and first became involved with the organization in 2003 as a founding board member of Stay Local!, Urban Conservancy’s initiative to support local, independent businesses. Under Dana’s leadership, the UC has developed numerous projects focused on strategic water management, including BASIN, a school-based water literacy program; and the Front Yard Initiative, a community education program to increase onsite permeability by incentivizing homeowners to remove excessive paving.  Dana was a member of the Lafitte Greenway Steering Advisory Committee and an active member of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative’s Community Education working group.


Jeffrey J. Thomas, Thomas Strategies

Jeffrey Thomas is a New Orleans based attorney with over fifteen years of legal, business consulting, and governmental experience focused on crafting business, investment, and public policy solutions to achieve sustainable community, economic, and real estate development. As principal of Thomas Strategies, LLC, Jeffrey assists public and private sector clients nationwide in these arenas by providing traditional legal services and strategic counsel related to structuring entrepreneurial and emerging growth ventures; government policies and programs; public-private financing and partnerships; and real estate development projects.

Among recent projects, Jeffrey is advising state and local government clients in Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York in their efforts to design and invest in community-scale disaster resilience related to coastal restoration, energy efficiency and renewable energy sourcing, food system security, and water management. Additionally, since 2011, Jeffrey has helped secure and structure public-private financing and community support for over $65 million in manufacturing and mixed-use projects, particularly in lower income and underinvested urban communities. Sustainability-focused ventures that Jeffrey has counseled include companies providing goods and services in the areas of cleantech, commercial development, renewable energy, stormwater management, and water quality.

Jeffrey’s sustainable development efforts are further influenced by nearly two decades of experience at every level of government. After Hurricane Katrina, Jeffrey supervised disaster recovery related policy and program development for the City of New Orleans to leverage over $1 billion in public and private funding to invest in housing, economic development, and infrastructure related projects. Prior to that role, Jeffrey’s legal practice and previous advocacy experience centered on analyzing and representing stakeholder interests within state and federal budgeting, legislative, and rulemaking processes.

Jeffrey’s work has been recognized with several honors, including the New Orleans CityBusiness Magazine’s Leadership in Law Award, and designation among Gambit Magazine’s “Forty Under Forty” in the New Orleans region. Civically, Jeffrey is board chairman of Friends of Lafitte Greenway and was a founding member of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative. 

Jeffrey is a 2001 graduate of Tulane Law School; and 1994 graduate of Millersville University (PA), with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.


Colin Crawford (moderator), Robert C. Cudd Professor of Law and Executive Director, Payson Center for International Development

Colin Crawford is the Robert C. Cudd Professor of Environmental Law at Tulane Law School, where he directs the inter-disciplinary Payson Graduate Program in International Development. Professor Crawford also directs the undergraduate International Development program in Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts, in which he also teaches. His current research is focusing on questions of urban sustainability.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s