New apartment complex angers some New Orleans East residents

New apartment complex angers some New Orleans East residents

A new apartment complex going up in New Orleans East has some residents up in arms.

What looks like a sign of rebuilding post-Katrina angers some who live near the old Village of Versailles on Dwyer Boulevard.

"I think about the density of it," Ed Blouin, head of the Village de L'est Improvement Association, says.

Eleven years after the storm, a new apartment complex is going up. Plans call for several large buildings to house eight apartments each, totaling 400 in all.

Blouin says, "It would be much better if they would put two families on top of two families rather than four on top of four."

Aesthetics aside, Blouin and his members have other concerns about the development, which will feature affordable housing.

"The security, the lack of police we have in this area, our crime problem. We have a crime problem in this community almost every day. A lot of it not being reported," Blouin stated.

New Orleans City Councilman James Gray contends, "People who say that they're concerned about the people who live here because it's not a nice enough place, they either have not toured the East or they're flat out lying. This is going to be a much nicer development than many people are living in, right now."

Many people we spoke to say they would've liked to have seen this developed into more retail space instead of additional housing, pointing to the lack of grocery and shopping options in the East.

Gray, who supports the project, believes it will actually entice other businesses to set up shop here. He stresses, anything will be better than the overgrown mess, that's been here for years.

"This is going to be a major improvement over the empty, blighted concrete slabs we have out there today," Gray said.

Already approved by the city planning commission, the $53 million project will be completed next year.

A number of residents also tell us they feel they didn't have a chance to voice their concerns about the project. Gray argues, a hearing was held before the city planning commission with a public comment period.

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