Rebuilding After Hurricane Katrina

Architecture for Humanity is working to connect families and individuals who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina with architects and designers who can help them to untangle complex new building codes and FEMA elevations, make decisions about their future, and ultimately empower them to re-envision their homes, businesses and communities. Below are just a few of the many projects that architects with Architecture for Humanity are undertaking.

Projects in Progress:

Biloxi Model Home Program

Location: Biloxi, Mississippi

Owner: various

Design teams: various (click here to see a list of participating design firms)

Project partners: East Biloxi Relief Recovery and Revitalization Center, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio

Architecture for Humanity is sponsoring the design and construction of a number of demonstration homes in East Biloxi.This fully-funded pilot program aims to assist families committed to rebuilding on their property by pairing them with architects, engineers and design professionals and others who can help them answer such basic questions as: Is it safe to rebuild on my lot? How will the new flood map elevations and building codes affect me? And, if I rebuild, what can I afford to build?

Families will be paired with a team of professional designers who will work with them one-on-one to design a new home for their property that will not only be affordable but will also be sustainable and meet the area’s new building requirements. The pilot program is unique in that it offers families the opportunity to work one on one with architects and design professionals giving them access to expertise and design talent. Architecture for Humanity launched the program with a House Fair, where families were able to meet and choose the design firm of their choice.

  • See photographs from the House Fair
  • Model Home Designs and Design Teams
  • Project details on the Open Architecture Network

Calhoun Photography Studio and Residence

Location: Flood Street, New Orleans

Owner: Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick Calhoun

Design team: John Dwyer, Shelter Architecture | AFH-Minnesota

Project partners: Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans; Shelter Architecture

Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick Calhoun are professional photographers. For years they taught community photography classes at a photography studio based in a storefront next to their home. Exhibitions at the gallery featured the work of local photographers and chronicled the life and times of the neighborhoods in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, some of which was featured in publications such as Reflections in Black. The studio was a repository of local history, including hundreds of photographs that documented the city’s architectural history. The force of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent levy breaches and flooding caused both the couple’s home and their photography studio and gallery to collapse, destroying years of work.

Keith and Chandra have been able to rescue some but not all of the thousands of negatives that were stored in the studio and are determined to return. Architecture for Humanity has committed to providing design services to help them envision a new studio on the same site and rebuild.

Guardian’s Institute

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Owner: Herreast Harrison, The Guardians of the Flame

Design teams: Rockwell Group

Project partners: Newcomb College Institute of Tulane, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

Herreast Harrison’s vision is two fold … first is to make her family home in the upper Ninth Ward habitable so that she can bring her scattered family home to the City. A retired daycare provider to two genrations of 9th Ward children, she is in the process of renovating her gutted structure so that in the near future her home will be able to house those members of the family who want to return to New Orleans but are without a place to stay.

The second part of her vision is to develop two lots adjacent to her home into a community center. This Center would house a museum to display the historic artifacts from the Uptown Mardi Gras Indians (currently there is only one museum in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras Indians and it is for the Downtown tribes) which her family has a rich historical tradition in, to create classrooms that would continue the teachings of their culture to the young generation giving them a solid foundation of identity as well as to provide a neutral meeting ground where every Mardi Gras Indian society (of which there are many) would be welcome. The different groups could meet and exchange ideas in this community center and everyone would know that they were part of the continuation of this cultural heritage.

Completed Projects:

Gulf Coast Community Design Studio

Location: Biloxi, Mississippi
Projects: Various
Design team: Gulf Coast Community Design Studio
Project partners: Biloxi Relief Recovery and Revitalization Center

Architecture for Humanity is pleased to support the work of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is an outreach of Mississippi State University School of Architecture and uses professional faculty and staff to provide design assistance to the communities along the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by Hurricane Katrina.  The overall mission of the studio is to provide leadership and design assistance to the Mississippi Gulf Coast communities.  The community design studio will work with the Biloxi Relief Recovery and Revitalization Center to help families in East Biloxi re-envision and rebuild their community. Early on their work has focused on mapping the neighborhood. Today, they are working on providing design services to families repairing and reconstructing homes.

Saloy House

Location: New Orleans Street, New Orleans
Owner: Mona Lisa Saloy
Design team: Maureen Ness, AFH-Minnesota

This project came out of our work with Heritage Conservation Network. Architecture for Humanity and Maureen Ness with AFH-Minnesota are helping long-term New Orleans resident and poet Mona Lisa Saloy (author of Red Beans and Ricely Yours) return home. The project entails assisting her with determining appropriate elevations, permitting, and helping her elevate and redesign the existing structure. Preliminary plans have been drafted and the project is now waiting surveying and permitting.

View the design:

  • Plan
  • Elevation
  • Roof Plan

The Greater Little Zion Baptist Church

Location: Biloxi, Mississippi
Projects: The Greater Little Zion Baptist Church
Design team: TBD

Main sanctuary of Greater Little Zion Baptist Church with fellowship hall.

The Greater Little Zion Baptist Church, located at 5130 Chartres Street, was founded in 1900. Located in the historic neighborhood of Holy Cross in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward, the small wooden church, constructed in 1916, was damaged by the flooding that inundated the Lower Ninth Ward and Holy Cross communities following the breach of the Industrial Canal levee. Given the severity of the damage in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Reverend Scie believes the recovery of many churches will take years. In the meantime, he and his congregation hope to repair and expand their church by adding classrooms and incorporating the existing fellowship hall into the new structure. Architecture for Humanity is providing design services to the church.

Preserving Homes in New Orleans

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Projects: Various
Project partners: Heritage Conservation Network

Begun just three months after the storm, the goal of this project was to help families and train volunteers in gutting and de-molding some of the city’s precious building stock with an eye towards historic preservation. A small grant to the Heritage Conservation Network enabled them to bring down a number of volunteers who assisted homeowners in gutting homes and businesses. By halting the spread of mold, the project helped preserve the structures. The project also helped jump start reconstruction by showing owners that it would be possible to repair these historic structures and helping them understand the reconstruction process that lay ahead.

Laundry Design/Build

Location: Waveland, Mississippi
Implementing Partners: New York Says Thank You
Design team: Mark Lescher and David Vilkama, University of Minnesota College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Over Spring Break 2005 students of the University of Minnesota made life a little bit more livable for Kathy Everard and her daughter by building a laundry room addition to their FEMA trailer. There were no working laundry facilities in the area. The addition also doubled as a storage area relieving the Everard’s cramped space inside the trailer.

Neighborhood Cluster Initiative:

Location: Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
Implementing Partners: World Shelters
Design team: World Shelters


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