Leaaf Environmental, LLC (Leaaf)’s Site Assessments Division provided the Environmental Professional and Environmental Lead for St. Claude Gardens, a 39-unit single-family and duplex rental housing development throughout various lots in the Lower Ninth Ward District of New Orleans. This development is targeted towards lower-income households that earn less than 20%, 50%, and 60% of the median household income.  In addition, four of the units will be set aside for veterans, while eight of the units are set aside for single-parent households.  The Ninth Ward of New Orleans has a diverse economy that has been recovering since the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.  The neighborhood was one of the hardest hit areas in all of New Orleans, receiving significant flooding and wind damage.  As indicated by the demographics, this neighborhood has been recovering since, and is still in a recovery phase.

Due to the funding to be received, which included grants from the Louisiana Housing Corporation and the City of New Orleans, both a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Environmental Assessment (EA) were conducted. Two of the units were partially located in the floodplain which triggered the 8-step process, including a formal alternative site evaluation, assessment of impacts, and two public notices. The project was completed with the Environmental Assessment concluding Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and all parties provided the funding.