Bushwhackers bar demolished as Fat City revelopment trudges forward

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 5:07 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Demolition crews on Friday (Jan. 20) worked to take down a strip mall that housed an old bar in the heart of Fat City.

The demolition will clear the way for more parking spaces, as the reshaping of the once-thriving entertainment district continues.

Bushwhackers bar is no more, demolished along with four other stores. In their place will be 30 new parking spots for Drago’s restaurant, whose owner promises more enhancements.

“We’re going to redevelop it, put in landscaping, and make it look nice like the front of our restaurant eventually,” said Drago’s owner Tommy Cvitanovich.

The rear portion of the strip mall containing Pat’s Bar will remain and be renovated.

Attempts at landscaping, and bricked pavement, are noticeable in Fat City, but parking is an issue for several restaurants.

Many businesses are buying up old buildings to tear them down in favor of more parking lots. Some say much more is needed.

“Landscaping is important. Lighting could be a big factor,” said Los Jefe’s Grill owner Oscar Chimal.

Further west on 18th Street near Division Street, the Metairie Business Development District recently purchased four more old buildings to be torn down.

“Our plan is to take it down and put grass there and then put a lot there,” said Cvitanovich.

It’s been more than a decade since zoning laws were changed in Jefferson Parish to re-shape Fat City, and some say it has made a difference.

“I’m optimistic, but it takes time. But Fat City has transformed a lot in the last few years. But it has a ways to go,” said Metairie Business District Board member Barry Breaux, who would like Fat City to one day become Metairie’s central business district, as envisioned over a decade ago.

Business leaders say the construction of a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s substation in the heart of Fat City has made the district safer. They are optimistic that parish government will eventually follow through with more plans to build public facilities there, which could house a library.

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