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 Orleans’ 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 city’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 HBO’s “The Wire” 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.