Community/Resiliency Center, Houma, Louisiana
ongoing design project
During Hurricane Ida in 2021, the house being used as the community gathering space for the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribal peoples was completely destroyed. The Grand Caillou/Dulac Band tribal peoples have been living in their ancestral traditional village of Grand Caillou/Dulac along the Louisiana Gulf Coast for centuries. Their ancestors were primarily of the historical Biloxi, Chitimacha and Choctaw but also Atakapas and Acolapissa Tribes. Sustaining the village was done by trapping, fishing, hunting and farming. Their people still continue to live off the water and the land to the best of their ability today but their tribe is in a serious crisis.
The traditions and cultural practices that were handed down by ancestors are far less sustaining due to drastic environmental changes brought on by oil and gas exploration, erosion, salt water intrusion and climate change. We lose an average of a football field of land every 100 minutes: every day is a fight to save their tribe from losing their homelands, their culture and their identity to avoid extinction.
This project is in collaboration with Community Engineer Corps, Building Humanity, Engineers Without Borders, Purdue University EWB Chapter and Community and College Partners Program (C2P2). Together with the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band, we will be designing a community center to serve as a day-to-day cultural hub. The building will be able to operate and accommodate meetings with the tribe elders, holidays and community gatherings, and other activities. Additionally, with the recent closure of schools and other infrastructure in the Dulac area, the community center will also serve as an informal learning space for children.
The community center will need to be hurricane resilient in the case of a major weather event, including a storm surge. The goal is for the center to withstand a CAT-4 hurricane. While many tribe members evacuate inland during hurricanes, often, elder members of the tribe or those without adequate transportation will need to shelter in the building during a storm although this is intended as a last resort for anyone unable to evacuate.
Special Skills Needed
Designers and engineers with hurricane design experience are preferred. If you do not have experience, you may be able to help with drawings and plans under the guidance of a professional with hurricane experience.
Architects or designers who can assist with Revit model
3D modelers and renderers to produce high quality images for fundraising and grant purposes
All volunteers are covered by the CE Corps’ professional liability insurance policy.
Initial cost estimate has come in at $5.5 Million for the building cost only. A more detailed cost estimates will be completed once initial schematics have begun.
design and construction of a community & resiliency center
Houma, Louisiana, USA
Elder Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar is a part of the upcoming National Geographic documentary series “Impact,” which chronicles the lives of resilient women around the globe. Produced by “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, it will premiere April 19th, 2021 on National Geographic.