Jeff Masters Hurricane Blog

Easton Park in New Orleans is both a playground and a flood-defense system » Yale Climate Connections

In the New Orleans neighborhood of Mid-City, kids run and play at Easton Park, perhaps unaware that a million gallons of stormwater can be stored in tanks beneath the grassy field.

Meagan Williams is with the New Orleans Office of Resilience and Sustainability. She says when rain falls in New Orleans, it must be pumped out of the city so it does not pool on streets, sidewalks, and yards.

But during extreme storms, the pump system cannot keep up. And residents of the low-lying area around Easton Park have suffered the consequences.

“This neighborhood has gotten a ton of flood events,” Williams says.

So the city has been developing ways to temporarily store excess water and then release it slowly into the pump system.

Around Easton Park, the city installed rain gardens and permeable pavers — to allow rain to soak into the ground — and large storm drains that feed excess water into large tanks under the park.

This helps the city manage more stormwater without interfering with people’s enjoyment of the park.

“They can go play baseball. They can go play on the playground equipment,” Williams says. “And when it’s raining … we are holding this huge amount of water.”

And that helps keep the neighborhood dry.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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