Holy Cross Project in New Orleans


Help New Orleans rebuild green following Hurricane Katrina by building a sustainable neighborhood with affordable housing and a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the devastating storm. View project infographic.


After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate response of the US Government, Global Green USA made a dedicated commitment to sustainable building in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As part of that commitment, Global Green, in partnership with Brad Pitt, sponsored an international design competition during the summer of 2006. The Holy Cross Project was designed for five single-family homes, an 18-unit apartment building, and a community center/sustainable design and climate action center. The goal of the project was to achieve LEED Platinum standards (LEED for Home for the single family homes and LEED ND for the other buildings).


We received more than 125 entries competing to design a zero energy affordable housing development in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen of Workshop/apd in New York created the winning design. With the support of Lead Funding Partner Home Depot Foundation, Global Green worked with workshop/apd and a dedicated and highly skilled team of sustainable design and building experts together with the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association to translate the winning development proposal into a reality. More about the competition.


By using solar panels, high performance building design, HVAC systems, a Building Dashboard(R) energy and resource monitoring systems, and energy-efficient appliances, the buildings in the Holy Cross Project use at least 75% less energy than typical buildings.

COMPLETE - Single Family Homes: The first home, finished in May 2008, currently serves as a Visitor Center for developers, contractors, and residents to learn how to rebuild green. The remaining four LEED Platinum homes were sold to local residents in 2012 and save the residents an estimated $1200 to $2400 a year in utility bills. Using advanced monitoring systems in the home, residents can see their energy and resource consumption in real time, and if they choose, modify their behavior to further lower energy costs. Modest homeowner association fees allow for residents to turn to the project manager to ensure the rain water harvesting, geothermal, solar and other systems are maintained properly and will continue to maximize savings.

CURRENT PHASE - Community Center The Community Development and Climate Action Center will be the centerpiece of the Holy Cross Project and will anchor Global Green’s ongoing presence in New Orleans. The CDCAC will advance the green rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, and offer community resources still not available in the Lower 9th Ward years after Hurricane Katrina.  It will include Global Green’s offices; a visitor and green building resource center; community meeting facilities; credit union ATM; corner market offering fresh foods; and passive survivability features (e.g., back up electricity for first responders in case of future storms). It will also help export knowledge to other cities—especially those in endangered coastal areas or otherwise threatened directly by climate change—to create a unified front on the adaptation to and mitigation of the dangers of climate change.  Locally, the Community Center will create new jobs, provide job training, incubate small business, and provide ongoing outreach and education on green building and renewable clean energy to daily visitors.

Future Phase: The third phase of the Holy Cross Project will include mixed income rental units.  The green affordable housing building will include 75% to 90% lower energy bills and all the benefits of healthy indoor air quality. These restricted income units will make possible for low income residents and families to enjoy these unique apartments. 

Outdoor Space: The interior courtyard will provide an outdoor gathering area for residents. A pathway through the project to the Mississippi River will have an interpretative learning component and children’s education area that connect to the river levee, community center, visitor’s center, and other sustainable landscaping features such as stormwater runoff capture and cisterns. These elements will be tied to the Visitor’s Center and be part of the experience for those that come to see the project.


Holy Cross Project photos on Flickr

Blog posts on the Holy Cross Project


The Global Green Holy Cross Project Visitor Center in the Lower Ninth Ward conducts tours for visitors to see and learn about the home's green elements and systems: reclaimed wood floors, Energy Star appliances, solar power, and geo-thermal, tankless water heater, rainwater catchment, rain gardens, green roof, and more.

Please call 504-525-2121to schedule a tour.

ADDRESS: 409 Andry St., New Orleans, LA

You can help finish the Holy Cross Project today

or learn more about how you can contribute to the project by contacting Michelle Pyne at [email protected]



Owner – Global Green USA: Matt Petersen, Walker Wells, Elizabeth Galante, Monica Gilchrist, Ruben Aronin, John Moore, Douglas and Andry Sustainable Building, LLC
Designer – Workshop/apd
Architect of Record - John C. Williams Architects, LLC
Landscape Designer – D.I.R.T Studio
Senior Advisor – Bob Berkebile / BNIM
Developer – Kathy Laborde, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership
Development Consultants – Matt Smith/CMC Enterprise, Carlton Brown/Full Spectrum of NY, LLC
Landscape Architect – Carlos Cashio, LLC
Contractor – Landis Construction Co., LLC
MEP Engineers – Supersymmetry USA, Moses Engineering
Structural Engineer – Morphy Makofsy, Inc
Civil Engineer – Julien Engineering
Energy Consultant – Think Energy, Inc
Building Science Consultant – Building Science Corporation


Holy Cross Project Sponsor

Mohawk Industries – FSC Certified Wood Flooring

Holy Cross Project Supporter

Caroma USA – Dual Flush Toilets  
Columbia Forest Products – PureBond Kitchen Cabinets & Bathroom Vanities

Holy Cross Project Friend

CertainTeed & Huntsman – Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation
Delta Faucet Company – Low-Flow Faucets
Edgefield Lumber Co./BluWood – Borate Treated Wood Products
Daltile – Recycled Content Tile Flooring