New Flood Elevation Maps Released

A message from the City Councilmember Susan Guidry – District A


After much hard work by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, his administration, and my colleagues and I on the City Council, I am very pleased to announce that the new FEMA Flood Maps have been released. As a result, many homeowners will be eligible for a significantly lower flood insurance rate.

This is how it works: The final FEMA Flood Maps indicate that more than 53% of all properties in New Orleans have changed from Special Flood Hazard Areas, “A zones,” to non-hazard areas, “X zones,” due to the reconstruction of the hurricane risk reduction system and significant drainage improvements following Hurricane Katrina. Even if your property zone remains the same, your insurance rates may benefit by the change in elevation criteria.

The maps as presented by FEMA take into account all work completed regarding hardening of the levees and the canal floodgates. They also take into account the capacity of the storm pumping system to remove rain water from the city during a rain event. However, FEMA cannot look to historical flooding when rating properties. They can only look at the topography, protection, and pumping capacity in determining the boundaries for Special Flood Hazard Areas.

While your property may not have been rerated in these maps, the City will be maintaining contact with FEMA’s mapping engineers. As additional projects come online or are undertaken in the future, the maps can be changed to reflect the increased capacity of the pumping system. This should result in additional areas being changed to “X” zones. Also, while your property may not have been reclassified to an X zone, the City is actively engaged in FEMA’s Community Rating System and we are hopeful that additional regulations being enacted with these maps will result in a 5% savings to every policyholder across the community.

The new FEMA Flood Maps will affect approximately 85,000 policies in New Orleans. Any changes to homeowners’ and business owners’ insurance premiums would be made through their insurance companies. Homeowners should see reduced rates as early as this October. The City strongly encourages all residents to have flood insurance, even if it is not required by their lender.

Furthermore, Congressman Cedric Richmond will be sending out a brochure with information
and questions for homeowners to reference when they speak to their insurance agents about the
new flood insurance rates. Follow the link to information on Congressman Richmond’s

Also, take a look at the FEMA flood maps at:

To view the map that is most informative, uncheck “Base Flood Elevations” and “Flood Hazard Areas” and check “Change Layer.” The green/grey/red map that will appear is the easiest to digest in terms of where flood zones are changing. You can use the other layers to get specific information on base flood elevations, and you can use the search bar at the upper left corner to search by address.