Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Disaster-resilient New Orleans apartment complex is also affordable » Yale Climate Connections

In August, Hurricane Ida knocked out power across New Orleans. Many people lived without air conditioning and refrigeration for days or weeks.

But at a new apartment building, solar panels and battery storage provided residents with about eight hours of electricity each day.

The St. Peter is a mixed-income apartment complex near the VA hospital, with half of its units reserved for veterans.

Zack Rosenburg is co-founder of SBP, the nonprofit behind the project. SBP helps people rebuild after disasters. And it constructs housing that’s affordable, energy-efficient and better prepared for extreme storms.

“St. Peter was born out of a desire … to show you could have all three,” Rosenburg says.

Gulf War veteran Sherman McClesky was one of the first residents. He says he felt fortunate to have access to electricity in the aftermath of Ida. But he struggled with the knowledge that others nearby were suffering after the storm.

“As much as I appreciate being here at this particular spot at this particular time, I can’t help but to feel a little bit guilty about it,” McClesky says.

He says housing like his should become the norm, not the exception.

Rosenburg agrees.

“We’re hoping that other developers learn about St. Peter and replicate it,” he says.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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