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ByWater Institute

​Located on the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans, the ByWater Institute at Tulane University offers state-of-the-art research, education and outreach facilities accented by the history and architecture of the Robin Street Wharf.

The ByWater Institute exemplifies the interdisciplinary ethos of the university. By supporting applied research and outreach, the center will help strengthen capacity to restore and protect the coast.

As a cornerstone of the university’s Riverfront Initiative, the ByWater Institute will further accelerate the city’s transformation into a world-renowned hub for innovation. The center is being developed in phases, with the first phase including new laboratory, educational and conferencing facilities, along with staging areas for field operations at the Tulane River and Coastal Center. In the long term, the goal is to redevelop the entire wharf into a riverfront promenade alongside a research and education district that dovetails with the Morial Convention center as well as nearby residential, commercial and retail development.

Contrast between overgrown lots near urban garden plots and manicured lawns
Lewis Ecosphere

ByWater Institute Research Assistant Professor Joshua Lewis is the lead author on a new study in the journal Ecosphere. In a study of plant life across New Orleans, the researchers found that demographic factors of wealth, race, housing recovery, and land abandonment were better predictors of vegetation patterns than the degree of intensity of flooding and wind during the 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

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ByWater Institute Director Mark Davis
New Director

The ByWater Institute welcomes new Director Mark Davis. Davis, founding director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources and Law Policy,  is a widely consulted authority on water management and a senior research fellow at Tulane Law School. He previously spent 14 years as executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, where he helped shape programs and policies to improve the stewardship of the wetlands and waters of coastal Louisiana.

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Entrance to the Tulane River and Coastal Center
New program aims to strengthen disaster response in coastal parishes

The Tulane River and Coastal Center provided an ideal setting for a week-long training for coastal parish leaders on disaster resilience. 

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Photo of Tulane River and Coastal Center Dedication Event
Tulane Debuts ByWater Institute

Tulane debuts ByWater Institute on a new riverfront campus dedicated to coastal restoration and protection.

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Our Mission

The Tulane ByWater Institute will foster applied research and community engagement on coastal concerns as well as incubate innovation within the emerging environmental and energy sectors.

Our Work

Tulane University is not just located in New Orleans, it is part of New Orleans and the coastal land and waterscapes that surround it. At Tulane, our research on resilience and sustainability is key to our academic pursuits and essential to our educational and civic missions. Planning for greater resilience and adaptability has taken on a sense of urgency in New Orleans and other coastal communities in the face of climate change, sea level rise and evolving natural and technological hazards. Implementing those plans is now more important and more challenging than ever. With our future at stake, success cannot be left to chance.  The ByWater Institute was founded to respond to these grand challenges by developing use-inspired research and unique programming at the intersection of environment, society, and community.

Untraditional by design, the ByWater Institute encourages interdisciplinary and cross-community communication and collaboration.  The Institute’s staff and affiliates seek to answer critical questions facing New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, while keeping the important global implications of these challenges in view. This work is anchored at two unique facilities: The Tulane River and Coastal Center and A Studio in the Woods. Both of these spaces facilitate innovative thinking and purposeful conversations that can open new pathways for navigating and responding to these changes in creative ways.

To carry out its mission, the ByWater Institute draws from Tulane’s broad strengths in many fields including:

  • Science and Engineering
  • Public Health
  • Law and Policy
  • Environmental Studies
  • Energy and Business
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Architecture
  • Liberal Arts

As extensive as our strengths are, no university has the resources—or the flexibility-- to take on these resilience and adaptation challenges alone. Communities and ecosystems are complex and dynamic, and so is the future they are facing.  By working with and within a network of community, civic, governmental and academic partners, the ByWater Institute is determined to do the work that matters, in time for it to matter.

Facilities

Administrative Offices: 627 Lindy Boggs Center, Tulane University Uptown Campus

Our offices, centrally located on Tulane’s Uptown Campus offer a convenient meeting space and access to campus services.

Tulane River and Coastal Center: 1370 Port of New Orleans Place, Downtown New Orleans

The TRCC opened in 2016 and features laboratory, office and public meeting space with views of the Mississippi River. The building is managed by the ByWater Institute, but scholars from the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering and The Water Institute of the Gulf use the facilities on a daily basis. The meeting space can be used by any organization for programming relevant to the TRCC mission.

A Studio in the Woods: 13401 Patterson Road, Westbank New Orleans

The Studio sits on eight acres of bottomland hardwood forest on the Mississippi River. The compound consists of three public buildings with private work/studio space and a shared living space in the Studio’s Main House. The primary purpose of the Studio is to serve artists and scholars in residence, but it is available for daily meeting rentals and we frequently open our doors for public programming. The Studio’s carefully stewarded property serves as an outdoor laboratory for research and education.
 

ByWater Institute Programs and Projects

  • A Studio in the Woods Arts, Environmental and Scholarly Residencies
  • A Studio in the Woods Field Station
  • The New Orleans CNH Program
  • New Orleans Urban Forest Observatory
  • Infrastructure & Ecology Laboratory
  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities
  • Interdisciplinary and community engagement oral history project
  • Supporting the Isle de Jean Charles Community Resettlement Through Cross-Boundary Networks and Knowledge Synthesis
  • The ByWater Institute Faculty Fellowship Program
  • Mississippi River Observatory Project

Administration and Faculty
 
Director Mark Davis
Assistant Director Shelley Meaux​
Research Professor Michael Blum
Research Associate Professor Amy Lesen
Research Assistant Professor Joshua Lewis
Program Manager of A Studio in the Woods, Ama Rogan
Program Coordinator for A Studio in the Woods, Cammie Hill-Prewitt
Environmental Curator for A Studio in the Woods, David Baker
Postdoctoral Fellow Kristine Moody
Postdoctoral Fellow Rosalyn Rael      
 
Affiliated Programs
 
The Center for Resilience Innovation
Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy
 
Partnerships

The Global Rivers Observatory
The Water Institute of the Gulf
Center for Sustainable Economic Development (ASTIW)
New Orleans Center for the Gulf South (ASTIW)
Pelican Bomb (ASTIW)

Newcomb Art Museum (ASTIW)
Prospect New Orleans (ASTIW)
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Swedish Royal Institute of Technology
Resilience Alliance
United States Forest Service
City of New Orleans Office of Resilience and Sustainability
New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board
The Tulane University Environmental Studies Program
The Tulane University Center for the Gulf South
The Lowlander Center
The Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development
Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians
The Tulane University Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design