New Wave feature's Carrie Bernhard TSA '02 and Professor Scott Bernhard for Katrina breach exhibit
Katrina breach exhibit gets Tulane touch
Alicia Duplessis Jasmin
A Tulane School of Architecture professor and alumna are part of a team working to erect a symbol of serenity at the site of one of the most devastating flood wall breaches to occur with Hurricane Katrina.
On the morning of Aug. 29, 2005, a large section of the London Avenue Canal’s concrete flood wall buckled under pressure sending torrents of water into the Gentilly neighborhood it was designed to protect.
The result was catastrophic.
The deluge killed many unsuspecting residents and pets. The home that once stood on the spot where the breach occurred was washed into the street. Area homes were submerged to their rooftops.
Scott and Carrie Bernhard are co-directors of the Lime Agency, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting climate-appropriate architecture for hot and humid regions. In addition to being married, they also share a connection to Tulane.
Carrie Bernhard is a 2002 architecture graduate. Scott Bernhard is the Jean and Saul A. Mintz Associate Professor at the Tulane School of Architecture.
The exhibit structure will employ passive design strategies that utilize the sun, wind and shade to maximize natural heating and cooling as opposed to relying on mechanical systems, Carrie Bernhard said.
“We are orienting and detailing the structure to provide shelter, shade and ventilation in the hot, humid and rainy months. But it will also allow the sun to enter the space in the winter months to warm visitors,” she said.
The goal of the exhibit is to explain the 2005 levee failures, to memorialize the house that was swept away by the force of the breach water and to provide a place for quiet contemplation on the magnitude of the devastation.
Scott Bernhard says the exhibit will entail three parts: an outdoor exhibition structure, a small courtyard on the footprint of the former house and a garden of native plants able to help manage storm water on the property.
Levees.org is spearheading and supporting the project, with the active support of the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association. Levees.org and local community members will provide the educational materials for display.
- Scott Bernhard