Lots of Progress Semi-Finalists Announced

The 10 Semi-Finalists for the Lots of Progress Competition are selected to pitch their project proposal on Thursday, November 15th at 6:30pm. They will compete for $10,000 in cash prizes.

1 November 2012

On Thursday, November 15th, at the PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress competition, 10 Semi-Finalists will pitch their idea for how they would transform a vacant or abandoned property into a space that benefits the community. We are thrilled with the caliber and number of applications we received and are excited to announce the 10 Semi-Finalists who will compete for First, Second, and Third Place. 

The winner of Lots of Progress will receive a vacant lot(s) of choice, selected from 49 NORA-owned properties, and $5,000 in cash prizes towards the project. Second and third place winners will also choose one or more properties from the selection, and will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, in cash prizes. While we can only offer direct support to three winners of Lots of Progress, we hope that this competition will jump-start community excitement for implementing projects that revitalize vacant lots.

The 10 Semi-Finalists will have three minutes to pitch their idea infront of a live audience and panel of "celebrity judges."

Celebrity Judges

  1. Chef John Besh, founder of nine critically acclaimed restaurants in the New Orleans area
  2. Jeff Hebert, Executive Director of NORA
  3. Dr. Maurice Cox, Director of Tulane City Center

Audience Registration

Support your fellow New Orleanians, and listen to their innovative ideas by being an audience member. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP to the Event! 

The competition will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15th from 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Propeller Social Innovation Incubator (4035 Washington Ave.).


The Metropolitan Opportunities Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Propeller, Adams & Reese Law Firm, Tulane University, Urban Land Institute, Zande + Newman Design, Metro New Orleans Sourcelink, Capital One Bank, and Louisiana Office of Community Development.

The 10 Semi-Finalists Selection Criteria 

  1. Potential Social or Environmental Benefit
  2. Financial or Organizational Sustainability
  3. Viability of Project Implementation


PitchNOLA 2012: Lots of Progress Semi-Finalists

(Listed in Alphabetical Order by Venture)

Bring the Bromeliads
Calla Victoria

This project is to beautify lots with minimal maintenance and maximum impact. Bromeliads are low maintenance plant material with maximum color, bloom, and pizzazz. Bromeliads can be terrestrial or epiphytes and require only the morning dew to survive. This project will be a neighborhood’s tranquil oasis where residents can gather, relax, reflect, and escape from the drama of work and home for a few moments.

Develop Abundance
Cat Kochanski, Martin Holly, Connor G, Lizy Hapgood, Noelle Bakri, Mike Freely

We will demonstrate the effectiveness of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic technologies in providing resources to communities in need. In addition, the project will focus on recapturing and repurposing waste, water and energy to create a self-sustaining infrastructural node for the community.

Fee-Fi-Fo Farm!
Jack Tiebout

Fee-Fi-Fo-Farm! will establish indoor vertical farming as a viable model for urban agriculture. By using hydroponic and aeroponic (soilless) growing systems to maximize vertical space, we will grow local, affordable produce year-round. We will start with a hoop house, but will hopefully expand upwards into a multi-level farm.

Gentilly Orchard
Scott Myers

I propose a fruit orchard, farm and butterfly garden, with open access and learning opportunities for the public. Signs would be distributed throughout, describing the plants, farming activities such as composting, and identifying beneficial insects and butterflies. I would focus on low-maintenance crops with high resale value.

Get Fruity About Trees
David Young

We don't have enough healthy food, and we don't have enough healthy trees. Using vacant lots to plant a sustainable grove of fruit trees provides sustainable healthy fruit, cleans the air we breathe, and offers a place for quiet and relaxation we don't often find.

Little Champions’ Square
Steven L'Heureux, Andrew Hodge, Maggie Robertson, Chris Duncan, Robert Rogers

Little Champion’s Square is an endeavor to provide our city with a football-themed athletic park where children can exercise, athletes can practice, and community members can gather. This new style of park will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood by increasing public health, safety, and overall well‑being.

Cullan Maumus

MagNOLA ONE will address vacant lots in New Orleans, by utilizing solar energy and proven water management practices on selected sites-‐‑ to spur development. MagNOLA will create financial incentives for future investment by distributing revenues to neighbors, and elevate safety levels in the surrounding neighborhoods through its water management programming.

Organ Donors
Jason Chaffin, Heather Weathers

The lot will be populated by electric organs that have been reconstructed and re-envisioned in resins, barge-board and concrete. This would not only be an impromptu teaching space, but a space for students and any persons without instruments to give voice to their musical soul.

PlayBuild NOLA
Angela Kyle, Leslie Davol, Sam Davol

PlayBuild NOLA is an architectural playground. New Orleans’ design tradition reflects our rich cultural past, but it is also modern and evolving. PlayBuild NOLA gives kids and families a hands-on opportunity to experience the creative environment as well as envision and shape their surroundings and the future of our city.

Ya Herd Property Maintenance
Morgana King

As an urban goat owner and 9th Ward resident, I see New Orleans' abandoned property as an opportunity to raise goats for milk, meat, and to provide an eco-friendly lot maintenance service. The project would mean entry-level jobs, collaborations with schools and non-profits, and products for local markets.