In early January eight multidisciplinary teams from Louisiana and around the world gathered at the Port of New Orleans for two days of interviews and dialogue with a wide range of regional experts to reimagine a more sustainable Lower Mississippi River Delta. The Request for Proposal (RFP) Briefing and Interview event is part of the team selection process for Changing Course, a design competition that is bringing the world’s best and brightest engineers, coastal researchers, planners, and designers together to show the art of the possible for one of America’s greatest natural resources. The competition, with the support and participation of the State of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is led by a Leadership Team and guided by Technical and Stakeholder Advisory Teams.
Changing Course’s selection process has been highly competitive; with only eight teams moving forward among the nearly two dozen that responded to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) released in September 2013. The response to the RFQ from private sector firms from Louisiana, the United States and abroad was outstanding, bridging strong regional expertise with innovative ideas from Deltas around the world. Teams include a vast array of expertise, including the top engineering firms in the world, oyster specialists, landscape architects, navigation experts and much more.
During the RFP Interviews competing teams presented their capacities and approach for handling this important issue and made a case for their participation moving forward. Teams also heard from Louisiana experts on the issues they must address in the competition, including the Lower Mississippi River Delta’s communities and culture, the needs of the shipping industry (including navigation and ports) and regional fisheries. Additionally teams were briefed by scientists on building with sediment and updated by both the State of Louisiana and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on their projects, plans and studies now underway.
Competing teams will have until the end of March to submit additional information to Changing Course’s Leadership Team. Final teams will be selected to compete at the end of April, with the competition starting shortly thereafter.
Changing Course is grateful for the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, blue moon fund and The Kresge Foundation. Changing Course would like to thank the Port of New Orleans, Omni Royal Orleans and Greater New Orleans, Inc. for their support of the RFP Interviews.
Photo: Mr. Gary LaGrange, President & CEO of the Port of New Orleans, welcomes competing teams.