NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The makeover of one of the city's most famous streets begins, early Monday morning.
Businesses along Bourbon St. are bracing for the impacts, from a project that many say is long overdue
Construction equipment is now positioned in the first block of Bourbon, for a project that many hope will improve things.
"I don't want to be harsh, because it's festive, but it's a little rundown and smelly," said Curtis Smith, a tourist from New York.
First thing Monday morning, backhoes, will begin digging up the old pavement for the first time in 14 years, and some business operators worry.
"It's going to hurt business, people aren't going to be able to get to our restaurant," said George Puglia with the Creole Carre Restaurant.
Once the road is removed, then work crews will begin replacing aging, sewer, water, and drainage pipes beneath, as recently documented by our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
"We are looking to have new pavement on Bourbon Street to allow for positive drainage into drainage system," said Mark Jernigan, with the City of New Orleans.
Some of the pipes are 90 years old and are undersized, crushed, and often leak unpleasantness.
"I love it, but it smells really bad, other than that it's great," said Jessica McClain, a tourist from Florida.
While one restaurant manager we spoke with is hoping for the best from this project, he's worried about the timing.
"I'm pretty sure it needs to be done, but the middle of summer would have been better than Jazz Fest," said Puglia.
City officials promise to do the work two blocks at a time, but it will be staggered for every other block.
"It helps the delivery trucks get in, so we get our food products, and wine," said Puglia.
When it's all said and done, city officials promise a $4-million project the city and it's visitors can be proud of.
"It's on the postcard of New Orleans, so it's gotta be first priority," said Smith.
But there will be some pain, before gain, on the city's most iconic street.
City officials say no one block of Bourbon will be closed longer than 75 days.
In all, eight blocks will be repaired, starting with the first block beginning tomorrow.