Land Trust for Louisiana

The Pitch

Land Trust for Louisiana is a 501©(3) non-profit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving valuable natural lands in rural areas and urban communities of Louisiana through donations, purchases and conservation servitudes.

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Marisa Escudero & Bridget Kelly

Marisa Escudero & Bridget Kelly

The Entrepreneur

In 2013, Bridget Kelly co-founded Greener Bywater to help her neighborhood organize for the preservation of the last remaining open green spaces. Kelly soon discovered that despite 1,700 land trusts operate throughout the United States, New Orleans was without a local land trust to call its own.

Kelly, a seventh-generation New Orleanian, has fifteen years of experience working in the public sector primarily in the areas of community health, chronic disease epidemiology, environmental and land use policies, renewable energy, social justice and food security.

Kelly has served as board president of the New Orleans Food Coop, as systems expeditor at regional food organization Market Umbrella, as a program officer for the Annenberg Foundation and helped launch the Step Together New Orleans initiative at the Louisiana Public Health Institute. Kelly struggles with saying no to agriculturally related collaborative research and capacity building endeavors with nonprofits, community members and grant makers alike and files those efforts away under “special projects”.

Kelly holds a master’s degree in public health from Tulane University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

Marisa Escudero is a licensed attorney and serves as the Development Director at Land Trust for Louisiana. Her experience in partnership development with entities such as government agencies, national and local non-profits, academia and community organizations have played a vital role in expanding Land Trust for Louisiana’s Development Program. In addition to developing and coordinating membership-drives, fundraisers and grant proposals, Escudero continuously researches and analyzes ongoing environmental policy decisions impacting the Gulf Coast Region, submitting written and oral comments to advocate for land conservation, water quality and watershed protection. Escudero is a member of the bar in Maryland and Louisiana and earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia, her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and her LL.M. from the George Washington School of Law. A self-described “city girl” with a background in water management, Escudero understands that urban conservation in New Orleans is vital to the city’s resilience and long-term sustainability.

The Opportunity/Challenge

LTL is breaking down barriers that exist between urban stakeholders and the land they have a plan for improving in order to tackle blight, park inequities, food insecurity, subsidence and stormwater management. In New Orleans alone, there are over 30,000 blighted properties in need of being brought back into economic and environmental commerce.

The Impact

  • Acquired a 10-acre urban parcel donation in New Orleans east in September of 2014. Appraisal completed and valued at $300,000
  • Awarded $82,750 competitive grant from Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to demonstrate the effectiveness of landscape measures to reduce local flooding on a formerly blighted urban parcel.
  • 10.5 acres conserved
  • Six storm water management lot created
  • 275 landowners educated/assisted
  • LTL is the only organization applying proven land trust tools and strategies to permanently preserve and protect urban land
  • It is now possible for any neighborhood to take ownership of blighted properties and for this land to be held in perpetuity for public benefit


2013-2014 Ventures




Press Coverage

Propeller’s team has coached, trained, connected, strategized, pushed, and unequivocally believed in the leadership and vision of our nonprofit venture. This support has enabling us to tackle 10 months of innumerable roadblocks that our start up would have otherwise faced with limited capacity and experience. Instead, having Propeller’s well respected and networked staff and community advocates working on behalf of our social impact mission, has not only given us confidence to tackle the work on days when issues seemed insurmountable, but has enabled us to share our work with audiences it would have taken us years to reach on our own.

Bridget Kelly & Marisa Escudero
Co-Founder, Land Trust for Louisiana (Propeller '14)