New Orleans, LA
In the 1950s, the Pontchartrain Park residential subdivision in New Orleans was built as a state-of-the-art housing development targeted for New Orleansâ€™ African American citizens. Although housing segregation was eventually outlawed, Pontchartrain Park remained 97% black and became home to several prominent citizens of New Orleans including the cityâ€™s first black mayor, Ernest N. Morial and his son National Urban League CEO and also a former New Orleans mayor, Marc Morial, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.
Now, with only 46% of residents returning after Hurricane Katrina, Pontchartrain Park is a storm-battered shell of its former self — but not for long if actor Wendell Pierce has his way. The star of HBOâ€™s â€śThe Wireâ€ť and local resident founded the Pontchartrain Park Development Corp. (PPDC), and is trying to turn the neighborhood into the sustainable answer to the energy problem.