Shay
Zeller

Project: Advancing Mitigation Through Land Use Policy

Shay Zeller is a NOLA native who, like so many New Orleanians, returned to the City after many years away. She is the Deputy Director of the City’s Office of Community Assets and Investment. Shay earned a B.A. in Music from Centenary College of Louisiana and a J.D. from the Franklin Pierce School of Law at the University of New Hampshire. She is licensed to practice law in NH and LA. Her first career was in public radio, where she worked for New Orleans Public Radio, New Hampshire Public Radio and Car Talk on NPR. She is a former Judicial Law Clerk for the New Hampshire Superior Court and Assistant City Attorney for New Orleans. In between jobs, she has sung with the Boston Symphony, worked as a professional baker, and volunteered her time with CASA of New Hampshire and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. Shay lives in Uptown, New Orleans with her husband and two small children.

HER PROJECT

"My project will involve drafting and promoting sound land use policies that can support the City of New Orleans’ climate change mitigation efforts. Currently, my work involves a holistic, strategic approach to eliminating blight through community, economic, and workforce development. However, I also recognize that the City's economic health, like its very existence, is inextricably linked to climate change. Though I have not settled on one specific project, I intend to make the City a national model for mitigation policies."

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

"I saw the incomparable Collette Pichon Battle, Esq. of the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy speak at a conference put on by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. She gave a sobering talk about climate change and it’s likely impact on New Orleans. The short version, enjoy New Orleans while it exists. As a native New Orleanian, as a person raising two small children in this city, and as a City employee trying to improve communities, this scared the life out of me. I came away convinced that climate change must be infused into every aspect of City government and I started looking for ways to incorporate it into my own work."