Friday, January 14, 2011

“I come back yesterday, and I'm like, god, what happened."

A worker at Anita's, a diner just outside the Footprint, provides a classic reaction to the site of the devastation that has unfolded across from the establishment in the VA Footprint in an area that once had hundreds of homes.

According to the Channel 4 piece, Jim McNamara, the head of the unelected board that oversees the BioDistrict, saw the site differently:

"’s moving very nicely"

He and Senator Karen Carter Peterson continue to string out a misconception: a sense that the hospitals proposed for Lower Mid-City are essential for creating jobs, for helping local small businesses.

Locating the hospitals in a far smaller, more reasonable, less destructive footprint would likely have produced just as many jobs in the end.  That's an important point to keep in mind.  The either/or sentiment that's been drilled into the public consciousness is bogus - keeping blocks and blocks of historic neighborhood intact would not have stopped or limited job creation.  If Karen Carter Peterson wanted to help small businesses, she wouldn't be sitting back while the LSU/VA project displaces many small businesses like Boudreaux's Tire and Auto, Ellgee Uniforms, Broadmoor Auto Parts, Weiser Security, Durand's Tuxedos, Robert Rogers' lawncare business, Canal Street Guest House, the Driving School, Outer Banks Bar, Sam Jupiter, Jr.'s barbershop, Headquarters Salon, Platinum 3000 Bar, Lee's Seafood, Dutel, Southern Electronics, Cesar's Autobody, the JOB Center, and Humble Rumble Productions (to name a few)...and destroys the buildings they operate(d) in.

McNamara's talk of walkable neighborhoods, while unobjectionable in a vacuum, again seems problematic in the context of a piece on the LSU/VA hospitals.  The proposed hospital sites were incredibly hostile to the idea of a walkable neighborhood.  Any walkability that ultimately results stems directly from the loss of an entire neighborhood and a failure to revitalize a historic neighborhood that was already in very close proximity to enormous existing buildings in the CBD that are now sitting vacant and do not have any identified tenants or uses.


WendyW said...

I arrived in NOLA yesterday mid-morning. Once I got settled at my friend's place in Uptown, I drove up Tulane yesterday on my way for a po' boy...when I saw the expanse of churned earth and 'nothing' made me nauseous.
I've heard that they (ell ess you) don't have full funding for the that still correct? I don't like the ramifications of the parcel being raped, pillaged and left for dead - all of that destruction for nothing but 'because we could!'?!??!? Eff them.

Anonymous said...

McNamara has also spoken of bike paths along Tulane Avenue. Has anyone noticed that the "bike paths" in the Downtown Development District, which McNamara once headed, are nothing more than some minimal signage and a few stencils painted in the middle of standard vehicular lanes?

Brad V said...

Wendy -

The site that's now an almost total wasteland is the VA Hospital site. While the funding appears secure there, Secretary Gates has recently begun talking about cutting back in a number of budget areas.

LSU, or the UMC Board, really, does not have the money to build the hospital proposed for the LSU Footprint below S. Galvez.

That area, while not yet a full-blown wasteland, has seen about 15 properties, many of them historic, bulldozed. There is no house moving plan for that side.

Anonymous said...

While LSU is the group clearing the VA site, little attention has been given to the involvement of non-profit entity that originated the extension of the footprint from Galvez to Rocheblave. It was the RPC not LSU, that proposed the footprtint that would turn a viable neighborhood into a moonscape.