Responding to a request from City of Slidell, Louisiana, Mayor Ben Morris and the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center, a four-member volunteer planning team sponsored by APA worked in Slidell October 13–15, 2008, to assess current planning needs and urban design issues, and offer planning guidance as the city continues its hurricane recovery.

The APA Planning Assistance Team worked with local experts, citizen groups, and municipal participants. The team's tasks included:

  • Participating in the October 13 Urban Planning and Water Safety Workshop, an intensive planning event on the future of New Orleans developed by the Royal Netherlands Embassy, APA, Waggonner & Ball Architects, the Netherlands Water Partnership, and the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East.
  • Touring Slidell to become more familiar with the city.
  • Learning about recent planning work, including the implementation of Design Guidelines in Olde Towne and on the Fremaux Corridor, and the completed master planning effort.
  • Hearing presentations from a wide array of municipal employees, citizen representatives, neighborhood organizations, and others about Slidell's planning needs.
  • Presenting ideas about how best to reuse a post-Katrina trailer site once vacated.
  • Examining Olde Towne and the Fremaux Corridor in conjunction with design guidelines, annexation, and other issues that will help the City of Slidell determine the fate of this important corridor, its new I-10 exchange, and status as the gateway to Olde Towne.

New Directions: Community | Connectivity | Coordination

Community Planning Assistance Teams Report

Slidell has a strong focus on the Interstate highway. There is no doubt the value this brings for access and potentially bringing in new investment. Other cities have had a similar focus, yet failed to attract the star business or developer. The cornerstone for creating new businesses and jobs often starts with the local community, identifying the sectors of the local economy that may be lacking, and working out how to build that sector.

Meet the Team

The team was led by Jeff Soule, FAICP, APA's director of outreach and international programs. Other members were Rollin Stanley, AICP, director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Planning Department; Jason Beske, AICP, chair of the APA Urban Design and Historic Preservation Division; and Heather Deutsch, an APA member and manager with the Rails to Trails Conservancy.