First round of Claiborne corridor meetings complete - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

First round of Claiborne corridor meetings complete

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A map from the Claiborne Avenue study A map from the Claiborne Avenue study

New Orleans, La. - Central City is more than a spot on the map for Avis Brock.  It's her home and her heart.

"I have a vested interest in Central City," she says. "It's more than just a place to come and work.  I live, work and worship here."

Brock joined her neighbors at the final Livable Claiborne Communities meeting Thursday night.

HUD and the Department of Transportation funded the more-than $2 million study of Claiborne Avenue from Napoleon Avenue through Treme.

"There's a lot of interest in recapturing the glory, really the retail, the cultural and the commercial splendor that the corridor had historically," says Bill Gilchrist of the Mayor's Office for Place-Based Planning.

Gilchrist says many of the questions asked this week centered on the I-10 overpass.  Other cities have taken down freeways and replaced them with city streets designed to handle the same amount of traffic.

Calvin De La Rose watched I-10 go up in the 1960's and saw the neighborhood around his shoe repair business struggle to survive.

"They had insurance office, they had the Standard and it was nice but the interstate came over there and made everybody move away," he says.

City planners say the study extends for blocks beyond the 3.9-mile stretch of Claiborne, looking at the impact of road, residential and retail improvements on the surrounding communities.

Brock wants to know about the potential for Central City.  "We need a lot of resources here in Central City," she says. "We need human capital, we need housing, we need jobs, we need social services in Central City."

While this is the final meeting scheduled for now, Gilchrist says this is just the beginning.  City leaders plan to speak with other communities outside the study area that would be impacted by changes to I-10.

"We'll be having more conversations and more dialogue, probably some more one-to-one outreach and we'll be looking at all of this information coming together where we then will go through some workshops at the beginning of next year and look at different scenarios," he says.

There are many ideas about how to improve Claiborne Avenue and city leaders hope, through the study, they'll find a solution.

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