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Rosa Keller Library and Community Center

Landscape Architect Jane Satterlee had a prairie vision, and created one in the bioswales of the Keller Library in Broadmoor, where stormwater management techniques were used in the rebuild of the devastated library, seven years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. 

As described by World Architects: “The project employs numerous sustainable measures, particularly with regard to storm water management. The most noticeable element is the creation of a large bioswale, reducing stormwater runoff by 58% and serving as both landscape feature and educational component addressing the larger issue of water management in the region.

Rainwater spirals down the slope of the new library wing to a single point, where it is celebrated in a catchment feature at the building entry. From there it is channeled along the entry ramp and joins water from the restored historic wing into a landscaped detention area where it percolates slowly back into the soil. A similar strategy softens the flows from the existing concrete parking area.”

Jane asked for help from the Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans and the Native Plant Initiative to keep this prairie planting healthy and within the city’s guidelines for property management. New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways helps by not mowing certain areas and weeding many of the beds. 

Many native species have been added to the already thriving community of diverse native plantings. LA Iris and goldenrod flourished under the cypress trees. NPI recently added Cardinal Flower, Lyre leaf sage, and Gulf Coast Penstemon. Coreopsis, Seaside Goldenrod, Bluestem grasses and Gaillardia have reseeded over the winter, as well as several varieties of coneflowers.

There is a raised bed of Muhly Grass that has been renovated and added to, with Rudbeckias, Winecups, Echinacea, Coreopsis, Ironweed and Seaside Goldenrod. There is more to come so stay tuned!




Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center is one of the many branches of the New Orleans Public Library System. We are located in the heart of the Broadmoor Community.

Rosa Keller Library and Community Center