New landscape on the lakefront: City leaders start facelift for once popular area

New landscape on the lakefront: City leaders start facelift for once popular area
New Orleans area leaders try to restore lakefront to former glory. (Source: FOX 8 photo)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Parts of West End are starting to see a big revitalization effort.

Councilmembers say the hope is to bring the area back to its heyday, making it a popular place for restaurants and entertainment.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell announced the five million dollar Breakwater Improvements Project near the Lakefront Tuesday morning.

"We're seeing a lot of groundbreakings happening around our city, and absolutely tied to the much needed infrastructure improvements that we need in our city," Cantrell said.

The FEMA-funded project , on North Roadway by West End Park will restore damaged portions of the road, repair damaged sidewalks and rehabilitate the Breakwater retaining wall.

"Our infrastructure is complimenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, restoring our lakefront, this gem of West End," Councilmember Jared Brossett said.

Many may remember the vibrancy of the West End lakefront before Katrina.

"This area, West End had all these restaurants growing up as kids. Fitzgerald's, Bruning's, Jaeger's. It was a site for everybody to go to, and it was a destination," Councilmember Joe Giarrusso said.

One of the reasons why the area hasn't been restored is because the land is divided between the state, Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish.

"Anybody who can appreciate government knows you operate with one parish it's not easy, but operating with three entities makes it even more of a challenge," Giarrusso said.

However, Giarrusso said all entities are now on the same page to move forward with re-developing the area.

"We want to be able to make sure that people can come there and have food, shop and do what they're used to doing, but also the land that's very close by that you can continue to have the recreation," Giarrusso said.

He said they're working with Jefferson Parish to build a pedestrian bridge across the 17th Street Canal.

"So you want people to be able to go from Jefferson to Orleans and vice versa back and forth. So the idea of having this pedestrian bridge is something we are interested in," Giarrusso said.

Many residents by the lakefront say they can't wait for West End to return to its former glory.

“You could walk from your boathouse, and you had multiple restaurants and bars and entertainment and so forth, and that all ceased. that was a historical, and really, it’s been restaurants for 100 years before Katrina,” Curt Kronlage said.

Giarrusso says they’ve been granted permission from the state to lease the land from them.

He says right now, they’re working with Jefferson Parish to get the land surveyed and figuring out how to evenly distribute the taxes.

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