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Crowds enjoy Memorial Day along newly enhanced N.O. lakefront

Published: May. 27, 2014 at 2:07 AM CDT
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The New Orleans Lakefront was a hot spot Monday as folks gathered with family and friends to enjoy the holiday.

"It's fantastic. I mean, I come up here whenever I can and everybody in New Orleans should use it as much as possible," said Jeff Klein. "It's a beautiful place."

"We don't have a beach. So, you know, this is what we consider closer to a beach and we appreciate it," Brittani Castle said.

However, for the past few years, areas along Lakeshore Drive have gone through various construction projects, leaving some sections inaccessible.

Most recently, the stretch from West End Boulevard to several hundred feet past the Mardi Gras Fountain underwent a $6 million seawall enhancement effort to fight erosion and accommodate more recreational activities.

"Finally it's open and it's beautiful," said Michael Thomas. "I'm able to come out and enjoy myself with my family and we're enjoying Memorial Day. It's real nice."

"I still feel like there's a lot of work to be done, but it's really nice," Valencia Blue said. "It makes you want to come out. It makes you want to come out and enjoy your own city."

On Monday, families fished, picnicked and just soaked up the holiday atmosphere - using the grounds on both sides of Lakeshore Drive, which remains open to traffic in both directions.

But while they noted the tremendous progress, some people shared the same complaint: lots of litter and a lack of trash cans along the newly-enhanced seawall.

"It seems like there's a lot of trash out here," said Tony Claiborne.

"We walked 10 minutes each way and saw one garbage can that was totally overflowing," Klein said. "Now, of course people can clean up themselves, too. It's their responsibility as well."

The seawall erosion project, which is managed by the Orleans Levee District, does call for the addition of trash cans and other amenities. Meanwhile, a second phase of the project is beefing up the seawall around Franklin Avenue.

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