Mary Tutwiler

Louisiana Katrina Cottages break ground, finally

by Mary Tutwiler

It’s been three years since “Katrina Cottages,” the architecturally appropriate alternative to FEMA trailers, were proposed by urban designer Andres Duany following the hurricanes of 2005. Today, the state will break ground on the first set of 42 Katrina Cottages in the Hidden Cove neighborhood of Baton Rouge. It’s been a long haul, with bureaucratic snafus tripping up the project ever since FEMA awarded the $74.5 million grant in December 2006 to Baton Rouge based Cypress Realty Partners.

The Advocate reports that the cottages, which could range from 612 square feet with two bedrooms to 1,112 square feet with up to three bedrooms, will be built with steel framing, fiber-cement siding resistant to rot, mold and termites, and energy-saving windows engineered to withstand 140 mph winds, as well as equipped with energy saving appliances and ceiling fans.

Meanwhile in New Orleans, Duany privately built a pair of modified shotgun-style houses to demonstrate his ideas of blending seamlessly into historic neighborhoods. In touting his work, the Miami based architect took a swipe at actor Brad Pitt, whose Make It Right program and high tech houses built in the lower Ninth Ward put him on the cover of Architectural Digest.

“On the whole, I’d rather be Brad Pitt than Andres Duany, let’s get that straight,” he told the Times Picayune. “But since he’s got that position well-covered, and I’m going to be an architect, I’ll do things people actually like.”