NEW ORLEANS – Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined City officials, partners, supporters and neighborhood residents for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate new facilities for the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) 2nd District and the New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD), located adjacent to each other in the Gert Town neighborhood.
The 2nd District facility, which opened in September, is a move from its old Magazine Street location. The $8.3 million, two-story facility features 17,000 square feet of space, and was paid for through a combination of FEMA funding and bonds. In addition to being a modern headquarters for the NOPD officers, the facility holds a conference room that can serve as host site for community meetings. The facility was built thanks to work from contractor Landis Construction and Grace/Hebert Architects.
NORD’s Gert Town Natatorium, which cost nearly $8 million and received funding from both FEMA and bonds, features a 15,000 square-foot space; the pool itself is a 25-yard-long, six-lane pool ranging in depth from 3-feet, 6-inches to 10-feet. The facility was built thanks to work from contractor Kevin J. Smith Construction and Concordia Architects.
“The greatest gratification that I have is being the former Councilmember for District B and working to initiate not only the groundbreaking but now the ribbon-cutting of our 2nd District police station as well as our Gert Town pool coming back to the fabric of the community,” Mayor Cantrell said.
“It’s been a vision for a very long time to rebuild and reinvest in our district stations across the city, bringing them into the 21st century. But this is more than a building … . It’s part of an ongoing commitment by me and the Mayor to better serve the people of New Orleans. Being next to the NORD facility only doubles down on the commitment to serve this city,” NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said.
"We are proud to officially unveil this premier aquatics facility to the Gert Town community, and the City of New Orleans. Today’s ribbon cutting is an extension of our efforts to improve the physical and social well-being of the community and residents we serve. Gert Town will be the City’s fourth indoor, year-round aquatics facility. We look forward to considerable usage and providing enriching recreational opportunities for residents of all ages,” NORD Interim CEO Maya Wyche said.
“When I look at what’s here [at the NORD Natatorium], the more that we do over there, the less we have to do over [at the 2nd District]. The more opportunities we give our children to do constructive things, the less likelihood they’re going to find to do destructive things. And these facilities being nestled next to each other can symbolize that,” City Councilmember (District B) Jay H. Banks said.
“It takes investments like this to enhance opportunity in our community. This is not just a law-enforcement building; this is a neighborhood center. We’re going to continue to make these investments,” City Councilmember (District D) Jared Brossett said.
“As an urban campus that has grown across the Washington Canal to meet the educational needs of our students, we commit to work with partners and elected officials to develop innovative programs that impact our youth, improves our pre-collegiate pipeline to education, and positively impels Xavier University’s mission towards the creation of a more just and humane society,” Xavier President Dr. Reynold C. Verret said.
“The City [of New Orleans] continues to make the city and FEMA proud and the neighborhood proud with the developments they continue to bring forward. There are a number of other projects in the books and we look forward to partnering on them with the City,” FEMA Public Assistance Infrastructure Branch Director Eddie Williams said.
“This is a great opportunity for locals to interface with NOPD in a more relaxed, comfortable environment to show the city and the state what community can look like,” Robert McKnight, co-founder, Together Gert Town Neighborhood Association, said.
The synergy between the two facilities will be most evident in their combined ability to increase community engagement, as well as opening the NORD facility to conduct water safety and rescue training for NOFD and NOPD Officers.
After the ribbon-cutting, Jennifer Dupree, 2nd District Commander, led the Mayor, officials and residents on a tour of the facility; many also visited the Natatorium.