Notes from New Orleans: Riverfront Redevelopment

Posted on: April 4th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

New Orleans RiverfrontI attended presentations about plans to redevelop six miles of the New Orleans riverfront. Under the direction of the mayor’s New Orleans Building Corporation, headed by Sean Cummings, an international team including Alex Krieger, George Hargreaves, and Enrique Norton along with local architect Allen Eskew has been working for about a year on this vision, dubbed “Reinventing the Crescent.” It’s a slick, sexy vision that aspires to assure New Orleans place “in the pantheon of the great cities of the world,” according to Cummings.

The presenters were careful to point out that their scope was only the area from the water’s edge to the floodwall. Nevertheless, I pointed out to them that they can’t ignore the impact of their plans on the adjoining neighborhoods—all of them listed in the National Register, from the Lower Garden District to Holy Cross and everything in between. In response to my question about Section 106 and NEPA review, Eskew stated “We expect to meet or exceed every requirement.” He cited the Louisville and Chattanooga riverfronts and Crissy Field in San Francisco as best practices they will emulate. See www.neworiverfront.com for more details.

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