Director

Nathan Lott

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Nathan came to New Orleans after a decade in natural resource management in the Mid-Atlantic. As a graduate student at Tulane School of Architecture, he gained a deep appreciation for the region’s unique history as well as the challenges of building in a deltaic environment like Southeast Louisiana. In particular, his work on climate change and cultural heritage built upon a longstanding commitment to the joint protection of natural and cultural resources.

That synergistic approach was a hallmark of his seven years as executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network. A coalition of more than 125 nonprofit and community groups, the network championed energy efficiency benchmarks, conservation easements and watershed restoration. During Nathan’s tenure, the network united rural communities concerned about a proposed uranium mine with business interests downstream to protect the drinking water of more than 1 million people. In partnership with foundations and conservation groups across six states, Nathan helped launch the Choose Clean Water coalition, which became a force for clean-up of the Cheasapeake Bay and a resource to local governments.

Previously, Nathan served in a state agency tasked with curbing runoff pollution from farms and cities and with promoting parks and open space, During that time he first encountered many of the principles of green infrastructure. He served as lead author for a greenway-blueway project, Captain John Smith’s Trail on the James River. He also authored a guide book to hiking trails near Richmond, Virginia. Nathan is married to Elizabeth Lott, a minister and Gulf South native. The couple have two school-age children.

 

 

 Steering Committee

Miriam S. Belblidia

Miriam is the CEO and founding partner of Louisiana Water Works, L3C, a socially conscious company dedicated to building resilient and engaged communities in which water is managed effectively to reduce flooding and water pollution. Previously, Miriam worked as a Hazard Mitigation Specialist for the City of New Orleans, where she administered federal hazard mitigation grants, coordinated the 2010 Orleans Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan update, and helped develop the City’s Stormwater Management Program. Miriam received a Fulbright Fellowship in Water Management to conduct research at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.  She is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) and received her MPA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on civil security and disaster management.

 

Tanya James

Acting director of the Central City Renaissance Alliance, Tanya James is an agile facilitator, dynamic trainer, and respected community engagement strategist who inspires and empowers people to lead as a way of life. Ms. James possesses an entrepreneurial spirit and is passionate about life-long learning and equipping people with the tools needed to support both individual and community transformation. She has worked in community with grantees in the Neighborhood Capacity Building Initiative, Southern Rural Access Program (RWJF), Southern Rural Asset Building Coalition (Ford Foundation), Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Foundation for Louisiana, Louisiana Area Health Education Centers, Louisiana Public Health Institute, Human Resource Service Administration (HRSA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). She holds a Masters of Social Work from Southern University of New Orleans.

 

Felice Lavergne

As project manager for Urban Conservancy’s, Felice oversees the Front Yard Initiative, an incentive program encouraging onsite permeability through the removal of excessive paving; Building Active Stewardship in New Orleans (BASIN), an environmental literacy and stewardship program for youth; and advocacy which includes anything from hosting public forums to submitting Master Plan amendments. Felice is a graduate of the UNO Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, with an emphasis on Environmental and Hazard Mitigation Planning and Land Use and Urban Design. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans. Felice will soon be a certified member of the Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater New Orleans, from which she learned much about observation and plant identification. A Louisiana native, Felice is passionate about this unique and wonderful state and looks forward to continuing her personal and professional journey here.

 

Sami Khalil

Sami was born in Jerusalem and came to the United States through an educational exchange program and then received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from William Carey University. His primary role is an Environmental Quality Supervisor with the EPA-mandated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Program, which is designed to protect the public, as well as prevent the pass through of pollutants to receiving water bodies through the regulation and monitoring of discharges to the Parish’s drainage system. Sami had formed a Stormwater Task Force Coalition with his Co-Permittees and other key players in our region and became responsible for coordinating with his Co-Permittees all aspects of the Louisiana Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit and the Storm Water Management Program (SWMP).  Storm water pollution, from point sources and non-point sources is a challenging water quality problem for us all. Coming to Jefferson Parish from the Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals, he makes avail of his relationship with his former staff members, often working closely with the State Dept. of Health and Hospitals, coordinating joint inspections with state Sanitarians to address matters of public health concern on the state and local level. Sami is also a Fellow of the Loyola Institute for Environmental Communication (IEC) since 2008.

 

Harry Lowenburg

Harry is a Campaign Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network, representing GRN in the Multiple Lines of Defense campaign. He was the Coordinator for the Water Collaborative’s strategic planning process.  He has expertise in neighborhood organizing and fundraising. He is an excellent collaborator/teammate.

  

Alexandra “Alex” Miller

Alex is an urban planner and community development professional whose work focuses on empowering residents to shape their own urban environments. Her areas of expertise include economic development planning, community development finance, physical and economic resilience, and public engagement. Alex is a co-founder of Social Agency Lab, a collaborative of urban planners and anthropologists who engage communities in creative projects and urban interventions. Alex has a BA in Anthropology from Northwestern University and a Master of Urban Planning from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

 

 

Robert Mora

A professional engineer and land surveyor, Mr. Mora is a founder and managing partner at Batture LLC. Batture is an engineering firm focused on infrastructure planning and design. Mr. Mora is the current president of the New Orleans Professional Chapter of Engineers without Borders. This organization provided his initial introduction to the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative which he has been actively involved in since 2014. As a member of the Steering Committee he is excited for the opportunity to promote water literacy in the Greater New Orleans Area.

 

Brooke Morris

Brooke is a south Louisiana native and project designer at Gaea Consultants, LLC. She specializes in green infrastructure design by integrating engineering and landscape architectural techniques. Brooke obtained her Masters in Landscape Architecture and her Bachelors in Biological Engineering, both with honors, from Louisiana State University. She served as a project manager for the LSU Community Playground Project, where she collaborated with public elementary schools’ students, parents and staff to provide safe accessible playgrounds.  She applied this experience in community-based design and service learning as a teaching assistant for the Landscape Architecture Masters Water Studio. Upon graduation, she worked for Spackman Mossop Michaels landscape architects where she integrated her stormwater modeling techniques into private practice.   She currently is an active member of the Designer and Builders working group of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative, volunteers with the LSU Community Playground Project, serves as co-secretary for the New Orleans Engineers Without Borders chapter, and is a sitting board member of Groundwork NOLA.

 

Jennifer Terry

During the summer of 2015, thanks to her position as a Board Member for the Committee for a Better New Orleans, Jennifer worked with the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative’s Interim Steering Committee to recruit a Coordinator. Jennifer enjoyed meeting Collaborative members and learning about the Greater New Orleans Water Plan. She was particularly excited to see the Plan highlight sustainable water management techniques and community involvement in addressing the region’s challenges. Jennifer would love to apply the research, data collection and analysis, policy analysis, report writing, and project management skills she learned during her urban planning career to the permanent Steering Committee’s efforts to implement the Water Plan.

 

Jamelyn Austin Trucks

Jamelyn has over 8 years of Mitigation/Resilience experience working with FEMA in the roles of response and recovery – working with the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and working as a FEMA Liaison in St. John Parish for Hurricane Isaac. In her role with HMGP she was actively engaged in assisting in the development/approval of forward thinking projects like the Pontilly Green Infrastructure Project (NORA). In her role overseeing $500 million in Federal Grants (primarily in Orleans, St. Bernard, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes) she worked many local and state officials in a collaborative manner to achieve the best overall approach for reducing risk in these communities. Jamelyn is now working for Atkins International assisting Louisiana jurisdictions with disaster recovery, mitigation and resilience. In addition to chairing the Advocacy Working Group of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative, she serves as Steering Committee president.

 

Prisca Weems

As Principal of FutureProof, Prisca supports the design and development of projects with aggressive resilience and sustainability goals, and provides strategy and oversight in the design and execution of community and regional-scale initiatives. Working with the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, she has most recently been focused on system-scale strategies and policy development for urban and coastal climate adaptation. Prisca holds a MArch and an MSc in Advanced Environmental and Energy Sciences with a specialty in Urban Water Systems. She is a LEED AP, Living Building Ambassador, and an Enterprise Technical Assistance Provider.