Board of Advisors


Belblidia_2013Miriam Belblidia

Water Works

Miriam is the founding partner of Louisiana Water Works, L3C (Water Works), a social entrepreneurship focused on linking flood mitigation and water quality planning. She was the local Building Resilience Workshop coordinator for BRW IV and continues to support the Steering Committee. Previously, she worked as a Hazard Mitigation Specialist for the City of New Orleans, where she helped administer federal hazard mitigation grants, coordinated the 2010 Orleans Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan update, and led efforts to develop the City’s Stormwater Management Program. Miriam received a 2010-2011 Fulbright Fellowship in Water Management to conduct research at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. She is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) and received her MPA degree from the University of Pittsburgh (2009), focusing on civil security and disaster management. During her graduate studies, Miriam worked as a member of the Interactive, Intelligent, Spatial Information Systems (IISIS) team at the Center for Disaster Management and worked with the Center for Hazard Assessment, Response, and Technology (CHART) at the University of New Orleans. She has published research on the role of information technology in community resilience.


B_CaseBradford W. Case

City of New Orleans

Brad is the Acting Director of Mitigation for the City of New Orleans.  Created in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Hazard Mitigation Branch of the City’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is responsible for developing and implementing mitigation policy throughout the City of New Orleans.  This includes implementation of the City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, administration of all FEMA mitigation programs for private property and infrastructure and advancing of the awareness of mitigation concepts and practices for communities and businesses.  The Mitigation Office also represents the City throughout the state and the country to promote and achieve the sustainability and resilience of the City.



M_DavisMark Davis

Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

Mark Davis joined the Tulane University Law School as a Senior Research Fellow in January 2007 and is the founding Director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. For the past fourteen years he served as executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana where he helped shape programs and policies at the state and federal level to improve the stewardship of the wetlands and waters of coastal Louisiana, one of the world’s greatest coastal and estuarine resources.

Davis has practiced law in Indianapolis, the District of Columbia, and Chicago and has taught at the Indiana University (Indianapolis) School of Business and the IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law in Chicago. He has lectured widely on the topic of water resource management and stewardship and has testified numerous times before Congress on the need for a focused and effective commitment to the viability of coastal Louisiana and other vital natural treasures.


English_2013Elizabeth C. English, PhD

Buoyant Foundation
University of Waterloo

Dr. Elizabeth C English, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and formerly with the LSU Hurricane Center and Tulane School of Architecture in Louisiana, works on the development of amphibious foundation systems as a flood mitigation strategy that supports the preservation of traditional housing forms and cultural practices.  Her current focus is on projects in south Louisiana, the Canadian north, Bangladesh and Nicaragua.  She came to flood mitigation from a background of many years of research in the field of wind engineering, specifically in the areas of wind effects on tall buildings and hurricane wind mitigation.

She is the founder and director of the Buoyant Foundation Project, a not-for-profit organization based in Louisiana that is a leader in the development of amphibious technologies for affordable housing and for retrofitting existing homes.  She is also the founder and organizer of the Building Resilience Workshops in New Orleans.  Both of these projects promote strategies that work WITH water to enhance community resilience, and both encourage the use of redundant forms of flood mitigation to diffuse the concentration of risk that leads to catastrophe in the wake of the inevitable failure of a single-line-of-defense system.   Dr. English is a member of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM), the NHMA Climate Change Adaptation Committee, the ASCE Multi-Hazard Mitigation Committee, the ASFPM Non-Structural Floodproofing Committee and the University of Waterloo Water Institute.

Dr. English’s experience in education, practice, teaching and research is in both the fields of Architecture and Civil Engineering.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Master of Science and PhD degrees in Architectural Theory from the University of Pennsylvania.


HainesChris Haines

Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation

Chris Haines has served as a full time board member of the Meraux Foundation since 2011. The Meraux Foundation was established by Haines’ Great-aunt Arlene Meraux, who transferred her landholdings to the family-managed nonprofit so that the land resources could be leveraged to make significant, sustainable improvements in St. Bernard Parish. While working alongside his fellow board members to oversee the implementation of a grand strategy to create lasting change in the Parish, Haines concentrates his efforts on the Foundation’s educational, environmental, and economic development initiatives. He coordinates the Foundation’s involvement in the Waters to the Sea® Mississippi River Delta Institute, Working on Water Summit, and Startup St. Bernard entrepreneur challenge. Haines enjoys immersing himself in Southeast Louisiana culture, enjoying the food, music, and traditions with his wife Merri and their two sons.


Jerolleman_2013Alessandra Jerolleman

National Hazard Mitigation Association

Alessandra Jerolleman is a Senior Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation Planner for JEO Consulting Group Inc., as well as the Executive Director of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association.  Dr. Jerolleman’s experience includes the following: serving as a Program Specialist in the Gulf Coast with Save the Children USA, working on a resilience initiative around children’s needs in emergencies;  hazard mitigation planning at the local, state and campus level; community education and outreach regarding mitigation measures and preparedness; development of collaborative networks and information sharing avenues among practitioners; and, delivery of training and education to various stakeholders.  Dr. Jerolleman is one of the founders of the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) and has served as Executive Director since its inception.  She is involved in various aspects of planning and policy and the national and local level, including participation in several workshops each year.  Dr. Jerolleman speaks on many topics including: hazard mitigation and climate change; campus planning; threat, hazard and vulnerability assessments; hazard mitigation planning; protecting children in disasters; and, public/private partnerships.

Dr. Jerolleman has directly project-managed, served as the senior planner, and/or provided planning and technical subject-matter expertise, including quality control, to DMA 2000-compliant local and state hazard mitigation planning, including state and local jurisdictions and institutions of higher education in Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Nebraska, Mississippi, Virginia, Rhode Island, Georgia, Texas and Iowa.  She has provided hazard mitigation training, and related workshops in the states of Montana, Utah, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania.

She currently serves as one of the Tri-Chairs for the National Hazard Mitigation Collaborative Alliance; has sat on the board of the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership; is a member of the Community Resilience Advisory Group to the Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority, and sits on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Public Administration’s Section on Emergency and Crisis Management.  She is the co-author of a textbook, “Natural Hazard Mitigation,” published by CRC Press in 2012, with a second textbook, “The Private Sector’s Role in Disasters,” due to be published by CRC Press in 2014.  She obtained her doctoral degree at the University of New Orleans in 2013 for her dissertation titled: The Privatization of Hazard Mitigation: A Case Study of the Creation and Implementation of a Federal Program.  Dr. Jerolleman has acquired wide-ranging experience in the private, non-profit, and academic sectors.



A_JohnsonArthur Johnson

The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED)

Arthur was born in the Nation’s Capital, but his roots are in New Orleans and date back to visits with his grandmother who lived in the Lower Ninth Ward on Fostall Street. He grew up in Washington, DC, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The George Washington University and the University of the District of Columbia, respectively. He relocated to New Orleans in 1999 where he has established himself as an accomplished fundraising professional and non-profit leader with a number of educational institutions and non-profit organizations. This has included work with Tulane and Xavier Universities and the New Orleans Public Schools. More recently, he has served as Regional Vice President for Major Gifts with the American Heart Association, Director for the Office of Development for Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, and Chief Development Officer for Operation Reach. As CSED’s Executive Director, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization and works closely with staff and volunteers to advance CSED’s key initiatives focused on Food Security, the Natural Environment and the Built Environment.


S_LaskaShirley Laska

UNO-CHART; Lowlander Center

Shirley Laska, PhD, is professor emerita of sociology and founding past director of the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology at the University of New Orleans (UNO-CHART). She has been conducting applied research on the social/environmental interface, natural & technological hazards, and disaster response, especially long-term recovery and risk reduction, for 25 years. Her work includes studies on residential flood mitigation, hurricane response, coastal land loss effects, coastal fisheries, community risk assessment and risk management for coastal hazards, use of information technology and GIS as support tools for disaster management, and evacuation of the vulnerable.

Since Katrina Laska’s work has been focused on lessons to be learned from the event, especially in the realm of community recovery and hazard resilience both in the urban and non-urban setting. This work emphasizes Participatory Action Research in both slow onset – coastal land loss and sea level rise –and abrupt major disaster events – hurricane Katrina and the BP oil leak.


T_MadinaTelley Madina

Oxfam America

Born and raised in New Orleans, Telley Savalas Madina is a graduate of Eleanor McMain Secondary School. Telley received a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from Loyola University New Orleans and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of New Orleans. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. During Hurricane Katrina, Telley worked as a Business Service Representative and Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison for the City of New Orleans, where he worked to promote small business development, policy change, and contracting opportunities following Hurricane Katrina.

Telley is the former Executive Director of Louisiana Oystermen Association, where he advocated for contracting opportunities for minority fishermen. Currently, he works as Coastal Communities Program Officer for Oxfam America concerned with coastal restoration and workforce development projects in the Gulf Coast.

Telley is married to Tallace Encalade Madina. The couple resides in New Orleans and have two children, Telley Jr. and Lacey.


G_MendozaGrasshopper Mendoza

Horizon Initiative Water Committee

Grasshopper Mendoza is a real estate broker with NAI/Latter & Blum, Inc. where she emphasizes green building and sustainable development in the commercial sector. She Co-Chairs the Horizon Initiative’s Water Management Committee and serves as a program manager for the award-winning Greater New Orleans Foundation/Idea Village Water Challenge business development competition. She is a Fellow of the Loyola Institute for Environmental Communication and of the Puentas Public Leaders Fellowship. Grasshopper earned a degree in International Business from San Francisco State University, and studied for three semesters at Mexico’s ITESM University. She has happily called New Orleans her home since 2003.


B_MillerBob Miller

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

Bob Miller moved to New Orleans to become Deputy Director at Sewerage and Water Board in 2008. He is responsible for Strategic Planning, Accounting, Customer Service, Human Resources, Information Technology, Risk Management, Environmental Services, and other operations support services. His focus since arriving has been on ensuring the sustainability and financial viability of the utility as it continues to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Before moving to New Orleans, he was Chief Financial Officer at Louisville Water Company and a management consultant to water and wastewater utilities. He has been extensively involved with the American Water Works Association as a utility peer reviewer and has published and presented more than thirty papers on utility management and operations.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from University of Louisville and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Indiana  University.


A_NaquinChief Albert Naquin

Isle de Jean Charles

Chief Albert P. Naquin is the Traditional Chief of the Isle de Jean Charles Band Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, located in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. A strong advocate for his people and homeland, he has represented his Tribe on numerous occasions at the State, Federal and National level including a visit to the United Nations  in 2010. He has also traveled to Alaska to gain direction from their experience during the Exxon Valdez Spill, The Grandmothers Council in Montana, and was a representative for his Tribe at the State level for education as well as a representative in laying the groundwork for the Albuquerque 2000 and Marksville 2010 Census. He has met with the Ojibwe of Minnesota to learn of the preservation of their culture and to participate in ceremony for the water that connects us. Travelling numerous times for Environmental Justice because of the unjust treatment of his people. He serves as an Adviser on the Community Resilient Team. A Constable for 12 yrs and a scout leader for 11 yrs Chief Naquin is a retired Federal employee from the Department of Interior/Mineral Management Service (MMS). He was an oil field safety inspector in the Gulf of Mexico for MMS and for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado and New Mexico for which he had a consulting company. He is a Viet Nam veteran and Ambassador for the Native Americans of the Louisiana Gulf Coast. He holds an Associate degree in Life Sciences from Nichols State University, is a gourd dancer, keeper and drummer on the Miracle Drum. He works with numerous local and national advocacy groups to bring about policy change that will bring progress not only for his Tribe but for indigenous people everywhere. He is proud to represent a people of such strength and follow the example of the many in his family who were Chief before him.



K_PetersonKristina Peterson


Kristina Peterson is an applied anthropologist/planner who studies scientist/community interaction including how to support and prepare both scientists and community members for their work together and how that work transforms both parties. She is a co-founder of the Lowlander Center, a nonprofit organization that helps create solutions through education, research, and advocacy, beginning at the community level, for Lowland people and places in the bayous of Louisiana. Peterson was a founding board member of the National Hazards Mitigation Association and the Gender and Disaster Network.

Peterson is currently a visiting professor of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans and formerly the Senior Research Assistant at the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (CHART-UNO). She is an Advisory Board member of the Thriving Earth Exchange of the Geophysical Union and she is a fellow in the Society of Applied Anthropology and active in Rising Voices and the Indigenous Climate Change Network.  Recent awards include the “Distinguished Service to Rural Communities” from the Rural Sociology Association in 2014, for her years of advocacy and justice work in rural communities, and from the PCUSA-Earth Care, the William Gibson Environmental Award in 2010.



S_PicouSteve Picou

NOLA Vibe Consulting

Steve Picou is a partner at NOLA Vibe Consulting, a New Orleans-based sustainability consultancy focused on integrated resource management and systems. He co-chairs the Horizon Initiative Water Committee, an interdisciplinary group of diverse professionals working to promote integrated water management principles and economic development. Steve recently served on the Citizen’s Sewerage & Water Board Task Force advising Mayor Landrieu’s restructuring efforts. He is also a program manager for the Greater New Orleans Foundation/Idea Village Water Challenge business development competition. Steve worked with the LSU AgCenter as a Sustainable Housing Agent, and served 12 years as the Assistant Director of the Louisiana Music Commission. He is a Puentes Public Leaders Fellow, and a Fellow of the Loyola Institute for Environmental Communications and of the Loyola Institute of Politics.


D_vanreeDerk van Ree


Derk van Ree is a senior specialist currently with the Department of Scenario and Policy Analysis from Deltares, The Netherlands. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Geography and a Master’s Degree in Geohydrology from the Free Reformed University in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). He is senior specialist in the environmental field related to soil and groundwater issues including environmental impact assessment and sustainable development of the subsurface. He is actively involved in a number of European networks and research projects in the field of soil and groundwater.

He has been project manager for the Biogrout-development in the research area SmartSoils to develop processes and technologies to adapt subsurface properties in situ to the geo-engineering needs e.g. by using biochemical processes with bacteria. The process is currently being looked at as a potential technology to prevent internal erosion at critical locations in flood defenses.

He is the European project coordinator for the EU Seventh Framework Programme research project FloodProBE on technologies for the cost-effective Flood Protection of the Built Environment, a project in which 14 partners from 7 different European Member States perform cooperative research in the field of flood risk management. He also was a member of the local organizing committee for the international FLOODrisk2012-conference in Rotterdam (NL) that was helf from November 20-22th 2012.


C_SarthouCynthia Sarthou

Gulf Restoration Network

Cynthia (Cyn) M. Sarthou is Executive Director of the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. The GRN is a diverse network of groups and individuals concerned about the long-term health of the Gulf of Mexico and committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the resources of the Gulf Region. The GRN currently works to: (1) protect and restore Louisiana’s natural storm defenses; (2) protect water resources affecting the Gulf; (3) build resilient coastal communities facing the effects of global climate change (4) protect the Gulf’s threatened and endangered species; and (5) obtain sustainable management of federal fisheries.

Sarthou received her B.A. from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, her law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1983 and her Masters of Law in Law and Marine Affairs from the University of Washington in 1992. From 1992-1995 she was staff attorney for Heart of America Northwest in Seattle, Washington, a citizens group committed to quality of life issues in the Northwest.


J_SneedLieutenant Colonel Jerry Sneed

City of New Orleans

Lieutenant Colonel Sneed officially retired from the United States Marine Corps on September 1, 2005, after serving a total of 32 years of military service in both the enlisted and officer ranks. At the time, Lieutenant Colonel Sneed had no idea that this tour would be preparing him for his future civilian employment with the City of New Orleans.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Lieutenant Colonel Sneed contacted the Homeland Security Director for the City of New Orleans and volunteered his services and was given the assignment of developing the “Look and Leave” program for the Lower 9th Ward.  After 2 months of volunteer work for the city of New Orleans, Lieutenant Colonel Sneed was brought on payroll in the city of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security as a planner and helped develop the City Assisted Evacuation Plan (CAEP) with the objective of evacuating 30,000 citizens that needed the most assistance in evacuating the city.

On October 2, 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Sneed became the Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness for the City of New Orleans.  On July 1, 2008, the Mayor directed a re-organization within city hall and appointed Lieutenant Colonel Sneed as the new Director, Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  On May 2, 2010, under Mayor Landrieu’s administration, Lieutenant Colonel Sneed was appointed as the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety.


B_ThomasBoo Thomas

Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX)

Well versed in local community planning activities, Thomas has led neighborhood redevelopment efforts in Baton Rouge since obtaining her Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from LSU. As the former head of Plan Baton Rouge and the Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance, Thomas has been an advocate for smart growth in Louisiana throughout her career.  After Katrina, she led CPEX in facilitating the Louisiana Speaks recovery process, the largest planning effort ever undertaken in Louisiana. The process resulted in the Louisiana Speaks Regional Plan, a comprehensive plan created through the participation of over 27,000 South Louisiana residents.

In recognition of her contributions to Louisiana, Thomas has been honored by the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the Baton Rouge Business Report, LSU and the Louisiana Architecture Foundation. In 2009, Thomas and CPEX were awarded the Olmsted Medal by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for “incredible leadership and set the standard for bringing community members and leaders together to work toward a shared vision for future growth and development.”


Jeff Thomas PhotoJeff Thomas

Thomas Strategies, LLC

Jeffrey Thomas is a New Orleans attorney with over 15 years of law and policy experience focused on environmental protection, economic development, disaster recovery, renewable energy, and increasing public participation in government. As principal of Thomas Strategies, LLC, Jeffrey helps facilitate public-private financing and policy solutions to spur resilient and sustainable community and economic development.

Jeffrey recently coordinated the New Orleans Citizen Sewer, Water & Drainage System Reform Task Force, which was created at the request of the City of New Orleans to recommend existing opportunities to improve the City’s water and flood protection systems, including means for reducing polluting runoff and reducing subsidence by safely absorbing more storm water within public spaces.

Jeffrey’s local experience also includes service as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as Special Assistant to the New Orleans Office of Recovery & Development Administration, in which he supervised post-disaster policy development aimed at blight reduction, neighborhood commercial revitalization, and sustainable public infrastructure investment.

Jeffrey’s community efforts have been recognized with several honors, including the New Orleans CityBusiness Magazine’s Leadership in Law Award, and designation among Gambit Magazine’s “Forty Under Forty” in the New Orleans region,

Jeffrey is a 2001 graduate of Tulane Law School.


D_WaggonerDavid Waggonner

Waggonner & Ball Architects

David Waggonner is principal of Waggonner & Ball Architects, a New Orleans- based architecture and planning fi rm.  Subsequent to Hurricane Katrina, Waggonner & Ball developed the Recovery Framework for St. Bernard Parish. With the support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the American Planning Association, Mr. Waggonner has continued the effort to define more intelligently the planning and redevelopment problem that the New Orleans region presents.  A series of Dutch Dialogues has been initiated, to inform the people in the urbanized lower Mississippi River Delta about ways to integrate infrastructure, visible and invisible, with surface, ground, and water to live safely and beneficially in south Louisiana.

Waggonner received his undergraduate education at Duke University, and a Master of Architecture from Yale University.  Mr. Waggonner has served as principal-in-charge of multiple award-winning architectural projects in education, ecclesiastical, office, hotel, retail, renovation and restoration categories.


WattsPhoto2014Jessica Watts, P.E., CFM, D.WRE

CDM Smith

Jessica L. Watts is a water resources engineer experienced in natural water quality, water resources engineering, and civil engineering.  Her most recent work has been focused on stormwater management modeling and design for the Greater New Orleans area.  Some of her local projects include the Pontilly Stormwater Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, the New Orleans Drainage Master Plan, Task Force Leader, Drainage, New Orleans Infrastructure Assessment, West Bank Surface Drainage Improvement Program, Jefferson Parish, and the Long Term Hazard Mitigation Project, Jefferson Parish.

Ms. Watts received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Christian Brothers University, Memphis and her M.S. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin, where she focused on Water Resources and GIS.  In 2009 Ms. Watts was accorded the honor of being certified as a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.  She currently serves as Section President for the Greater New Orleans section of the Society of Women Engineers.  She is also the Engineer of Record for the Hollygrove Greenline, an Engineers Without Borders Domestic project.



M_WoodMaura Wood

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Maura Wood works on National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign.  She holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Oceanography and Coastal Science from Louisiana State University.  After the BP Oil Spill, the National Audubon Society honored her as a “Woman of the Gulf”.






J_ZerinqueJerome Zeringue

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA)

Jerome Zeringue currently serves as the Executive Director of the Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). The CPRA’s mandate is to develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. The CPRA is also directed to implement the integration of hurricane protection, storm damage reduction, flood control, infrastructure, and coastal protection and restoration efforts in accordance with the master plan and annual plans.

After serving as the Executive Director of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District for over a decade, Zeringue joined the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities in May 2008 to serve as Director of Policy and Programs. Soon thereafter, Zeringue assumed the role of Deputy Executive Director of the CPRA and as such, was responsible for organizing, motivating and leading the integration of more than 150 staff that transferred from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities to form the implementation office for the CPRA. This was a crowning achievement as it marked the first time in Louisiana’s history that a single state entity was responsible for integrating and implementing coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects.

Zeringue also serves as the management Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance; taking an active lead on behalf of Governor Bobby Jindal.

A native of Thibodaux, Zeringue holds a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a master’s degree in Fisheries Biology both from Louisiana State University.

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