NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city announced Monday that it will begin work to increase security measures at the Municipal Auditorium to keep vagrants out and protect the structure.
In an effort to secure all access points to the building, the city will reinforce all doors, windows and HVAC units with steel panels. The work will begin tomorrow (March 28) and last through the end of April. Once complete, a 24-hour security detail will be stationed at the Auditorium to prevent trespassing on the property.
The Municipal Auditorium was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina. When Mayor Landrieu took office in 2010, FEMA had only obligated $7 million toward its restoration. The city went back to the drawing board and has since secured $41.7 million, but that is not enough to fully repair the building, which the city estimates to be more than $80 million.
On February 21, 2017, the city received a final determination letter from FEMA denying the request for the full funding. On March 21, the city filed a brief with FEMA to officially request arbitration in order to resolve this dispute. The city and FEMA will participate in a hearing before an arbitration panel, which will make the final decision on the funding for repairs.
The current scope of work is intended to remediate environmental hazards in the building, stabilize the building shell, clear the building of all debris, and condition the building to prevent future damage.
Upon the conclusion of the arbitration process, the city will conduct a market analysis to determine a best and final use for the facility. The city will then propose a redevelopment strategy for the building to return it to commerce like the city has done with St. Roch Market and the former World Trade Center Building/Four Seasons project.