Greauxing Resilience at Home — St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana: Resilient Planning, Affordable Housing, Environmental, and Funding Initiatives

St. John the Baptist Parish is one of Louisiana’s oldest settled areas. The parish is water-adjacent and predominantly rural. Over the last decade, significant weather events have highlighted the flooding and other risks that come with proximity to both the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, the latter of which borders the parish. The parish’s location in the path of New Orleans’s evacuation routes compounds the need to prepare for flooding and hurricane events. 

The parish has undertaken several initiatives to adopt development trends and patterns that will guide population growth in ways that make the parish and its communities more resilient to future rainfall and flooding risks. Namely, the parish developed a Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2014 and a Coastal Zone Management Plan in 2016. Most recently in 2019, the parish partnered with the state and nonprofit philanthropy Foundation for Louisiana through the Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE) capital improvement process to create an Adaptation Strategy. 

Collectively, the plans offer a variety of principles, goals, and policies related to the parish’s growth and development. Those policies and development planning goals encompass prioritizing natural features, such as adopting green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) solutions and conserving open space, in addition to addressing the socioeconomic dynamics that come with planning for affordable housing. In general, the parish seeks to preserve low-density and conservation-oriented development trends across most of the parish, much of which is flood-prone. This approach will discourage floodplain and open space development by directing population growth and affordable housing investments toward drier, denser areas of the parish. These efforts are supported by public engagement, external partnerships, and federal and innovative funding sources. 

Other local policymakers working to address rural flood, population growth, and housing management issues can look to St. John the Baptist for their policies directing population growth toward denser, more urban areas. Those policies allow the parish to preserve rural and flood-prone areas and maintain parish character and reduce risk to homes and infrastructure.


This case study is one of 24 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Collection of Lessons and Case Studies from Louisiana and Beyond. These case studies describe best and emerging practices, tools, and examples from Louisiana and other U.S. jurisdictions to make progress on the complex and interrelated challenges of housing, flooding, and resilience. These case studies are intended to provide transferable lessons and ideas for regional and local governments addressing housing and mitigating flood risk as integrated parts of comprehensive community resilience strategies. Collectively, these case studies present a suite, although not an exhaustive list of tools and approaches that can be used to facilitate any of these efforts.

For additional case studies and more information about this work, also see Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Regional Vision.

Publication Date: June 16, 2022

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