N.O. East residents complain about unfinished street work; Councilman works to attract new businesses

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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Residents in a New Orleans East neighborhood complain of unfinished infrastructure work and...
Residents in a New Orleans East neighborhood complain of unfinished infrastructure work and uneven street surfaces.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A front yard on Berg Street in New Orleans East served as a meeting place for frustrated residents and their city councilman.

They are upset over unfinished infrastructure projects.

“We have had patchwork, this has been like this since 2019, okay, when they started,” said Sondra Winfield.

The street in front of Winfield’s home is uneven because of the ongoing project.

“You can see how they have unleveled the street, and it’s just been nothing but patchwork,” she said. “Our curb is gone, the median is gone, mailboxes have been knocked down because people couldn’t get around other cars.”

Councilman Oliver Thomas represents District “E” which includes New Orleans East.

“You can see how inconsistent the whole public works, Sewerage and Water Board when projects start when they finish, patchwork versus curb-to-gutter work. My hopes are that New Orleans East gets treated just like the French Quarter, and downtown and everybody else,” said Thomas.

The New Orleans Department of Public Works issued the following statement on the project:

“The 7600 block of Berg is 80 percent complete and is slated to resume in July, weather permitting. The final phases are milling and overlaying, and as of now the contractor has the binder course in place (first layer of asphalt). The contractor encountered delays due to supply chain issues and limited labor availability. We understand that this has posed an inconvenience for the residents, and DPW is working with the contractor to get this project back on track.”

There are other complaints. Some residents complained about trash collection.

“It’s summertime coming and you know a lot of people do a lot for the summertime and we have to put trash out and we have maggots,” said Juana Johnson Darby.

Thomas says New Orleans East is ripe for development and he recently took a trip in hopes of attracting new businesses to this area.

“I met with Paul Vosper and his team with the JuiceBar in hopes that we could generate the kind of interest that would help not only New Orleans East but the rest of the city,” said Thomas.

He already has ideas where JuiceBar could be located in his council district.

“I’d like to see it go right there off Almonaster in the New Orleans Business District maybe somewhere around Folgers, somewhere around Beverages, somewhere maybe where Fauberg Beer is, in that area, man, seven thousand acres,” said Thomas.

He also made the rounds in Washington D.C.

“I went to D.C. met with folk at the White House, Mitch Landrieu’s staff, actually had dinner with Cedric Richmond, talked about our city, its positioning for funding,” said Thomas.

Residents would welcome more economic development.

“Sure, we do, we need more people to help us economically-wise,” said Darby.

And Thomas says progress has been made related to trash pickup by the state and aesthetics along I-10 in New Orleans East.

“Because I didn’t like the way they did them the first day, so Dr. Shaun Wilson sent them back out to do the trim work. They never had the trash picked up along the interstate every other weeks. Look at the green bags they’re doing it now. Look at the lights now, all up to Crowder along to Read. Those lights haven’t been that bright in 10 years,”he said.

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