NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Neighbors can expect to see some big changes along the New Orleans Lakefront as plans are in place for the renovation of some of the shelters on Lakeshore Drive.
One of the renovators, Billy Wright, has big plans for Shelter #1. He plans to turn it into a coffee shop in the morning, then it will transition into a boil house.
"We plan on having and applying for a license to sell wine and beer," he said. "I think you can't have a boil house without having a cold beer, you know? And, I think it will be really nice for people to come out here in the evening, have a bottle of wine and watch the sun go down on Lake Pontchartrain."
The four shelters on Lakeshore Drive have been shut down since Hurricane Katrina. But, the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority wants to eventually reopen all of them to the public. They recently approved Wright's proposal to renovate Shelter #1 as well as another proposal to turn Shelter #2 into a personal training platform with curbside healthy meals.
"One of the things that we specified in the standards was that they would have to keep the bathrooms open to the public and make the facility open to the public, so in our lease negotiations we're going to make sure that's written into the lease," said Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority Executive Director, Ken Schwingshakl.
While some neighbors have expressed concerns about noise, "We're very sensitive to the neighbors and we don't want, we're trying to quiet the Lakefront, so to speak, and keep it more manageable," Schwingshakl said.
Others think it's a good idea.
"Give us a place to come get refreshments and stuff and chill and eat when you want to, just enjoy the nice scenery or whatever. I think it's nice," said Lakefront visitor Peter Navas.
The Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority will begin lease negotiations soon with those private companies who plan to renovate the shelters. It will then have to go to the board for approval.