Problems appear to be happening with the Make-It-Right homes built in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, La. (See links below) As the Subject Matter Expert for Historic Green, a USGBC* recognized organization dedicated to rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward & NOLA sustainably, I could see the defects in design and construction techniques used for the Make-It-Right (MIR) homes.

Many of the older homes in the Lower 9th were built with ‘Barge Boards’, which are the boards used to build turn-of-the-century barges (without motors) that were then disassembled and reused as home building materials. Barge boards were comprised of Cypress tree wood that is a highly water-resistant and durable wood. Barge boards were installed as lap siding, floors and structures and could withstand the inclement weather found in NOLA for decades.

Newer products, such as siding made from combining sawdust and plastic compounds, seem like they would do well in wet climates but I have seen many of them fail. I know how resilient the Lower 9th Ward residents are and so I expect most of the MIR homes will be either saved or salvaged. To be honest, it is not easy to design and construct homes that can resist the weather and the termites/destructive pests found around NOLA and coastline areas.

Information about Historic Green can be found at:

*US Green Building Council –

Original NOLA Article about Make-It-Right Homes on

Follow-up Article from Energy Vanguard blog: