From Margaret Everton on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans
While the buzz about Katrina may have died down and taken up residence in the history books, those living in New Orleans are still in need of affordable housing. Architect Byron Mouton and his wife, Julie Charvat of Bild Design, paved the way for such a project when they built a multi-unit structure on the banks of the Mississippi River a structure that could provide housing for those on a college students income. Their mission: to construct a building that could withstand hurricane winds and water. The chosen area of construction is Lowerline Street in the Black Pearl neighborhood one that had been tattered, torn and forgotten by most building projects due to the industrial structures that had taken over the area. However, it was also smack-dab on the highest piece of land, thus offering the greatest potential for avoiding damage in the event of another flood or hurricane. Their design was tested when, after building the 1,850-square-foot house, Hurricane Katrina hit a week later. The couple locked up their newest project and fled to Baton Rouge, where they waited for the storm to pass. But while other homes were ravaged by the massive amounts of water, the house on Lowerline Street suffered only a torn-down fence and dent that was caused by another neighbors roof blowing off. As this city moves slowly towards complete reconstruction, maybe this project should serve as their muse one that can withstand a natural catastrophe sure to strike again in the future.