NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City and State officials, and community stakeholders to celebrate the completion of the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Streetscape Project from Calliope Street to St. Andrew Street in Central City. The $1.85 million project, which was designed to revitalize the area, was funded through a Disaster-Community Development Block Grant. Construction began in August 2016.
“The completion of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard will continue to revitalize this important and historic corridor,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This project will serve as a catalyst for future growth and private investment for both the residents and businesses in Central City.
The scope of work for this project included partial removal of the neutral ground from Felicity Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, installing wider pedestrian refuges at intersections, repairing damaged sidewalks, installing new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at intersections, restriping the roadway from two travel lanes and a parking lane to one travel lane, bike lane, and a parking lane in each direction, striping new high visibility crosswalks and a bike lane, improving rain gardens, planting landscaping and tree cuts and repaving the asphalt roadway.
Streetscape projects improve the area surrounding the roadway by making them more pedestrian-friendly and encouraging people to walk or bike rather than drive, as well as helping to trigger investment in the surrounding community. The O.C. Haley Boulevard Streetscape Project coincides with a number of new and improved developments on the corridor including: Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Café Reconcile, Peoples Health Jazz Market, Toups South, Casa Borrega, Primitivo, Dryades Market and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Office.
Cedric S. Grant, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Executive Director, said, “Streetscape projects bring communities together. The Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. community will benefit greatly from the enhanced walkability this project allows. Furthermore, the dedicated bike lane will encourage bicycle transit in the area which relieves traffic congestion and promotes healthier living.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “These streetscape improvements are another step in the continued revitalization of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, which is vital to the overall health and prosperity of Central City.”
Councilmember-at-Large President Stacy Head said, “Today is a good day in Central City. With these improvements complete, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard can continue to grow and attract businesses and nonprofits to the area. I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning of this project, that this would not have happened without hard work and dedication from both city employees and community leaders. I am pleased to see this commercial corridor continue to thrive and become a more vibrant part of the community.”
Councilmember-at-Large Jason Rogers Williams said, “For well over a hundred years, the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard corridor has been a cornerstone of New Orleans culture and entrepreneurial growth. This project is just one piece of the most recent streetscape revival in a fiercely tenacious and vibrant neighborhood. I am thrilled to see the infrastructure improvement and beautification of this streetscape and look forward to the continued strength of the diverse, local business community OC Haley has always fostered.”
Pat Forbes, Louisiana Office of Community Development Executive Director, said, “Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is an important anchor for an historic cultural corridor that was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina,” Pat Forbes, executive director of the Office of Community Development, said. “This project to enhance the OC Haley streetscape is a continuation of a large commitment by the City of New Orleans to revitalize the area and provide increased incentive for continued recovery investments by both private and public entities in the surrounding Central City neighborhood”
Linda Pompa, Executive Director of the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Merchants & Business Association, said, “We are thrilled to have the Oretha Castle Haley Streetscape Project complete. The corridor looks great and the City and its contractors did an excellent job working with businesses and residents to ensure we were involved in the process every step of the way.”
Since Mayor Landrieu took office in 2010, the City has completed 24 streetscape projects across New Orleans. Completed streetscape projects include Harrison Avenue in Lakeview, Read Boulevard in N.O. East, Claiborne Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward, Freret Street in Uptown, Bayou Road in the Seventh Ward, Galvez Street between new University Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs hospital, and Broad and Washington in Broadmoor. The Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard Streetscape Project is the 25th. Over $38 million in funding has been committed to making commercial and residential corridors more pedestrian and bike-friendly in New Orleans.