Why New Orleans?

Ripple Effect’s purpose is to link two urgent needs: environmental leadership and educational excellence, so that all students have the access and abilities they need to help New Orleans thrive.

  • Live oaks and their reflections in City Park, New Orleans.

Greater New Orleans receives over 60 inches of rain each year and is situated in the Mississippi River Delta. Here, the abundance of water, wetlands and waterways is a distinct regional advantage. The region, however, has reshaped itself with an approach to drainage and flood mitigation that pushes water assets out of sight and out of mind.

It is a place where flooding occurs all too regularly, water resources are often inaccessible and polluted, and outdated water management practices continue to sink an already low-lying city even lower. In this time of climate change and diverse environmental stresses, long-term resilience and our communal well-being require adapting this approach and billions of dollars worth of investments in the city’s infrastructure in coming years.


These adaptations, however, will only be possible with the involvement of an empowered and informed citizenry. We believe that building such a citizenry begins in our schools, and especially with students from underprivileged and minority communities. 

These communities are disproportionately affected by catastrophic weather events such as flooding and subsidence. In order to one day claim a “seat at the table,” these students must have the knowledge and skills to propose bold solutions, collaborate across disciplines, and drive civic processes.