Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Audubon Nature Institute Aquarium & Insectarium Renovations Completed in 2023

The renovated entrance to the Aquarium of the Americas and Insectarium offers a captivating first impression for visitors, reflecting the organization’s conservation mission. With a translucent catwalk providing river views, a vibrant lobby features green walls, artistic murals, and an LED installation explaining Audubon Institute’s mission.

The Insectarium boasts 17,000 SF of space, featuring live exhibits, interactive displays, Bug Appetite Café, and a butterfly garden, emphasizing the importance of insects in Earth’s ecosystem. Moses Engineers applied their expertise to meticulously design an innovative air conditioning system within the renovated space, carefully calibrated to create an ideal environment for the butterflies to thrive. Through their thoughtful engineering, they crafted a system that maintains precise temperature and humidity levels, replicating the natural habitat of these delicate creatures. This meticulous approach ensures not only the comfort of the butterflies but also their overall well-being, contributing significantly to the immersive and educational experience offered at the newly enhanced Butterfly Garden within the Insectarium.

 The exterior, adorned with bird-safe glass, features a soaring crystal and colored LED lights, making it a standout attraction along the New Orleans riverwalk. These renovations, including all Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering services provided by Moses Engineers, contribute to the revitalization of the Canal Street Waterfront, enhancing the city’s visitor experience.

Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

The sun always rises: Harnessing solar to power through the next disaster aftermath.

Pastor Antoine Barriere of Household of Faith Church on Monday, July 3, 2023 in front of the solar panels installed on the roof of the New Orleans East Church. (Photo by Chris Granger; Times-Picayune)

Louisiana’s solar industry took flight about a decade ago, but it has lagged behind other states when it comes to capacity — ranking last among southeastern states and 38th nationally in the number of megawatts installed, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Still, more than 30,000 Louisiana homes have installed panels, and the state ranks in the top 15 for projected solar growth over the next five years. Beyond savings on energy bills, Louisiana’s disaster-weary community leaders are recognizing solar’s potential as a survival tool during extended blackouts.

Two ongoing projects, independent of one another, aim to ensure residents can access electricity, cool space, food and water during extended power outages — a need that was painfully exposed after Hurricane Ida in 2021 and again in June after a tornado-producing storm knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in the Shreveport area in June, and thousands remained without power for more than a week. At least one person died from overheating during the blackout.

Power outages after Hurricane Ida caused the deaths of at least 11 Louisianans, nearly half of all storm-related deaths in the state, according to the state health department. Together New Orleans has said the number of blackout-related deaths from excessive heat or medical equipment failure was even higher.

The Community Lighthouse Project is equipping churches, health clinics and other community spaces with solar panels and batteries, so they don’t need to rely on grid power and faulty generators to stay open in emergencies. The nonprofit undertaking the project, Together New Orleans, ultimately wants to scatter 86 “lighthouses” throughout the state, so every resident lives within a 15-minute walk.

For now, the group is aiming to secure funding for 24 pilot locations. As much as two thirds of the $13.8 million needed for all 24 has been identified from public and private sources, though the group is still waiting on some of those commitments to be delivered.

Some of the solar panels on the roof of Household of Faith Church in New Orleans East. ( Photo by Chris Granger; The Times-Picayune)

Three lighthouses are already up and running in New Orleans, at Broadmoor Community Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and CrescentCare Health Center. Two more locations are set to come online soon, at New Wine Christian Fellowship in LaPlace and Household of Faith Family Worship Church in New Orleans East.

The pilot phase also includes the McKinley Alumni Center in Baton Rouge; Morning Star Baptist Church and Highland Center in Shreveport and a site in Alexandria. 

“The state needs resiliency. We are pre planning for it wherever we can,” said Pierre Moses, the project developer.

‘Just keep it going’

Feed the Second Line, a nonprofit group, has a similar idea with its “Get Lit Stay Lit” program, which is providing free solar installation at New Orleans restaurants. The goal is to make sure restaurant owners can quickly get back up and running after blackouts. Restaurant owners who evacuate will be able to remotely start up their refrigerators and freezers to prevent food waste ahead of their return.

Four installations have already been completed, including at Grace at the Green Light, which provides meals and other services for the homeless. The three restaurants are Queen Trini Lisa in Mid-City, Afrodisiac in Gentilly and Fritai in Treme.

Mary Clements, Seth Neo and Ian Michelson prepare the meals that are distributed to those who visit Grace at the Green Light Church on Pretha Castle Haley.

Plans call for another eight to 10 restaurant installations before the end of hurricane season, said Tinice Williams, executive director of Feed the Second Line.

“Turning those restaurants into first responders in their community also allows for them to reopen quickly,” Williams said.

Feed the Second Line hopes to raise $9 million over the next three years to create 300 “stay lit” locations, and recently secured more than $500,000 in city and federal grants, Williams said. Eventually, restaurant owners will be expected to contribute a portion of their solar-enabled energy savings to a fund that will be used to continue expanding the program.

“Now we are expanding, helping our neighbors in other parts of Louisiana, and possibly other parts of the world,” Williams said, referring to the potential of perpetual financing. “Just keep it going, keep it going.” 

The sun always rises

Those who have survived a natural disaster in a Louisiana summer and dealt with the no-power aftermath know the struggle of staying cool, charging phones and finding services for medical equipment that require electricity. 

North Louisiana Interfaith organizer Nathanael Wills acknowledged those challenges to the Shreveport-Bossier Advocate: “For people that are on Day 7 — that’s super intense and rough in this heat.”

Large churches are well positioned to become refuges during mass blackouts, since congregation members cast a wide social net in surrounding communities. The Community Lighthouse project aims to leverage those relationships to ensure everyone — congregation member or not — has a cool place to go and charge phones and medical devices.

“We know everyone in the community within a mile or so radius that needs their breathing machine connected to electricity, or they have someone in a wheelchair or somebody that’s bed bound,” said Rev. Antoine Barriere, pastor of the Household of Faith Family Worship Church.

Barriere and other religious and community leaders conceived the project after Ida. In exchange for the panels, Household of Faith and other solar recipients are required to maintain relationships with people living in designated response zones. That includes identifying residents with special health needs. They also must appoint a disaster response team to keep the facility running during an outage.

Additional services beyond electricity, food and water will be up for leaders at each facility to determine.

The typically bustling, 73,000-square-foot Household of Faith facility can accommodate about 300 people during a power outage, Barriere said. It also has 30 showers and space to house a limited number of people overnight, not to mention recreation rooms for kids and other areas that can serve as community gathering space.

Of course, the church itself needs to be powered to provide those benefits. Household of Faith had no generator after Ida and was forced to close for a couple days, Barriere said.

“It was just devastating,” Barriere said. “We were like a duck out of water. Without electricity, everything comes to a grinding halt.”

He hopes that more than 400 new rooftop panels, along with battery power, will help the church avoid that fate during the next blackout.

“No matter what, we know that sun is going to be up tomorrow,” Barriere said.

Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Audubon unveils first major aquarium renovation in 30 years; Moses Engineers provides MEP services

After undergoing an extensive eight-month renovation, the Audubon Aquarium will reopen on June 8th. With a fresh new look and atmosphere, the Audubon Insectarium and Butterfly Garden shine a renewed spotlight on the animals and plants of Louisiana’s fragile coast.

Since its opening in 1990, the aquarium has seen various additions, but the recent $41 million renovation marks its first significant overhaul. This major transformation includes a complete redesign, the introduction of an updated insectarium and new butterfly garden, as well as the creation of a captivating walk-through exhibit featuring wading birds, two sloths, and a large tortoise. Furthermore, the Gulf of Mexico tank has been reconfigured to offer a unique viewing experience from both above and the sides. These changes and additions bring a fresh perspective to the aquarium, enhancing visitors’ enjoyment and understanding the marine world.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the aquarium utilized the downtime to undertake a comprehensive re-design of the entire exhibit, update educational messages, and provide a renewed perspective to solidify its position as one of the top aquariums in the country. Ron Forman, the President and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institue, expressed this commitment to enhancing the aquarium’s offerings and ensuring a fresh and enriching experience for visitors. This effort showcases their dedication to providing an exceptional and up-to-date educational environment for guests to enjoy.

Moses Engineers takes great pride in having the opportunity to contribute to this significant and rewarding renovation project. They are excited to witness the impact of the final product on the local community. The collaboration between Moses Engineers and Audubon Aquarium is a testament to their dedication to creating a transformative experience for visitors and fostering a positive influence on the community. They eagerly await the favorable outcomes and benefits that this renovation will bring to the surrounding area.

Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Westwego Sports Complex- Moses Engineers for MEP Design Services

Between Avondale and Marrero, Jefferson Parish is preparing plans to manage a new outdoor recreation center that would cost more than $20.6 million. This move is part of the parish’s effort to become more competitive in the field of minor sports championships.

Moses Engineers started on the MEP design work for this project in 2019 and will now be helping to oversee the Construction Administration phase of the project. Ratcliffe Construction is scheduled to begin moving into the property on Nicolle Boulevard in order to begin construction on three multi-sport fields with artificial turf, a concessions facility, paved parking, restrooms, fencing, and bleachers. It is possible that it will open by the summer of 2024, and it may have the capacity to add six fields in addition to other facilities.

The new development, which will be known as the John Alario Jr. Sports Complex, is not primarily designed for the people who live in the surrounding area, although there will be time and room for them. Instead, it is a tourist effort that was developed to organize young tournaments for sports like as baseball, softball, football, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby over long weekends for teams from out of town, as well as the players’ relatives.

Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Lafayette Elementary School (formally known as Leah L. Chase Elementary) is to be Honored by Louisiana Landmarks Society

Lafayette Elementary School closed their doors for five years due to damage from hurricane Katrina and were forced to relocate for a decade. Since, the 71,643-square-foot building has been modernized, including 33 classrooms, activity rooms, library, kitchen and cafeteria, with exterior masonry repair and weatherproofing. Moses Engineers was honored to be a part of such a wonderful project! Other teams responsible for the renovations: Recovery School District; New Orleans Public Schools; N-Y Associates; Gibbs Construction; Infinity Engineering Consultants; Jacobs/CSRS; Enhanced Capital; C. Spencer Smith Architects.

Louisiana Landmarks Society nominated the Lafayette Elementary School Project for the Annual Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation. The awards will be held on May 24 at Marigny Opera House with a program and reception. The honorees come from throughout Orleans Parish, including Uptown, the CBD, Algiers and New Orleans East. The opera house is one of the winning projects.

“The award-winning projects have never been more diverse, representing the very best in historic preservation,” said René Fransen, president of the society, in a statement. “Our city’s unique architectural landscape is a valuable, economic asset. These projects invest in our city making it richer in so many ways.”

Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Named to New Orleans CityBusiness “Top Construction Projects 2023”

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans is undergoing an extensive renovation and a necessary system upgrade, many of which date back to 1984. In 2018, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans began a five-year renovation of the spacious structure and surrounding area. Massive improvements have since taken shape, but more are currently on the way, according to Convention Center President Michael Sawaya.


Exterior rendering of MCCNO's "intervention" areas.
Photo courtesy Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

To date, approximately $150 million of the $557 million five-year capital campaign has been spent. According to Convention Center officials, an additional $300 million will be spent over the next three to five years.

The first phase of the plan called for the construction of a linear park along Convention Center Boulevard. This project was hampered by pandemic-related delays, and components are still in the works, according to Sawaya. The new roofing system will consist of the same material as the roof of the Caesars Superdome. Since the Superdome’s roofing system is highly rated for hurricanes and other tropical weather, Sawaya said his team found it to be an ideal fit for the Convention Center’s roof.

According to Sawaya, the Convention Center’s 140 meeting rooms continue to be outfitted with technology and design from 1984. Between July and October of 2023, approximately $90 million to $100 million will be spent to gut and rebuild these 140 rooms to modern standards.


Rendering of meeting room
Photo courtesy of New Orleans CityBusiness.

Sawaya envisions a concept known as “Lapont,” which is French for “The Bridge,” as the centerpiece of the redesigned Convention Center. On the third floor, between the two spans of the Crescent City Connection, a 40,000-square-foot grand ballroom will be constructed. The massive pillars of the bridge can be seen in the center’s exhibition hall, which was designed to incorporate the original structure.

According to Sawaya, the Convention Center will be revitalized and modernized for decades by the total renovation package that will cost about $300 million.

Top Construction Projects 2023: 4. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center | New Orleans CityBusiness

Project description: The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is undergoing a massive renovation and a much-needed upgrade of systems, some of which date back to 1984. Project cost: $557 million Start date: 2018 Completion date: 2024 Owner/Developer: Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Construction/Architecture teams: Various The New Orleans Ernest N.

The Sazerac House
Sazerac House | New Orleans, LA

Sazerac House Debuts its New On-Site Distillery

Sazerac House, a former Moses Engineers client, has officially opened its on-site distillery and will begin distilling its flagship Sazerac Rye daily as part of its immersive cocktail exhibit.

In addition to providing MEP design services for the complete building, Moses Engineers designed the steam cooking/distilling system and process cooling system for the distillery operation, including all interconnecting process piping and control systems infrastructure.

Sazerac House Now Distilling Sazerac Rye at On-Site Distillery – Biz New Orleans
Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center | New Orleans, LA

Building on 131 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway Awarded

The Louisiana Landmarks Society has recognized the renovation of the building on 131 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway in its 2020 Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation in the category of institutional restoration/rehabilitation.

The former Central Baptist Church utilized federal and state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and was converted into multifamily apartments.

131-S-Jefferson-Davis-Multifamily-Rehab-Preservation-Award

https://youtu.be/2lBiaxfYmxI?t=366
A laboratory inside the Science & Technology Building
Jolly Science and Technology Building | Isidore Newman School

Isidore Newman’s Science and Technology Center Receives “Award of Merit”

The Jolly Science and Technology Building at Isidore Newman School received an Award of Merit in the K-12 Education category in the ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2019 Best Projects.

Moses Engineers provided MEP design services for the $15 million building, as well as lighting design, sustainable design and fire protection services. The Science & Technology Building features rooftop energy-generating solar panels, all new LED lighting, a 60-ton air cooled chiller, and much more.

Award of Merit K-12 Education: Isidore Newman School Science and Technology Building

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