On April 12, 2023, the City of New Orleans, Louisiana recognized the progress made in regards to boosting quality of life, advancing blight remediation and neighborhood revitalization successes during the first quarter of 2023.
The city’s Department of Code Enforcement, New Orleans Health Department (NOHD), New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board, Department of Safety and Permits, Orleans Parish Communication District (OPCD), New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and District Attorney (DA) Jason Williams participated in a quality of life walk in Mid-City to collaboratively address blight in the area.
Code Enforcement has also completed nearly 40 demolitions across the city so far this year.
Hopefully, this initial step of demolition will be followed by redevelopment. As documented in the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity, the vast majority of “blight removal” efforts in the U.S. fail to revitalize neighborhoods. Public leaders fail to realize that demolition is only a tact, and that revitalization only occurs reliably in the presence of a strategic program.
“The hard work and proven successes over these last few months demonstrate my administration’s commitment to removing blight, and we are going to continue this momentum,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“Last week, representatives from Code Enforcement, OPCD, NOPD and several other City departments conducted a quality of life walk over several blocks in the Mid-City neighborhood. This innovative solution brings together multiple City agencies as well as the community to rid our neighborhoods of blighted properties and ultimately remove the trash from our resident’s eyes. We believe these multifaceted approaches will improve the quality of life for all residents and ensure their safety in their own neighborhoods,” she added
This large group of representatives from several agencies and disciplines walked four city blocks, from Tulane Avenue to South Scott Street, to D’Hemecourt Street to Carrolton Avenue and back to Tulane Avenue.
They noted several buildings that appeared blighted or in disrepair, and the relevant agencies took note of code violations. Specifically, there were three buildings on Tulane Avenue and one on Carrolton Avenue that were of particular concern.
“The OPCD appreciates the strong turnout of City agency department representatives, the NOPD, the DA’s office and other community leaders to work together to pinpoint areas of crime and health and safety concerns and determine what changes are needed to improve the quality of life for the citizens of New Orleans,” said Tyrell Morris, Executive Director of OPCD and Chairman of the Violent Crime Reduction Task Force.
In addition to these mitigation efforts, the aggressive work being done by Code Enforcement has led to increased demolitions, making significant progress with blight remediation across the entire city.
The focus of these demolitions is abandoned buildings that have become hot spots for criminal activity or present other health and safety hazards in order to improve and beautify our neighborhoods.
A notable example is two abandoned multi-unit apartment complexes at 6800 and 6801 Cindy Place in New Orleans East. An NOPD officer was shot and killed at this location while in chase about three years ago in addition to reports of drug sales and usage, prostitution and stolen vehicles.
This is a major win for the area, as blighted buildings tied to crimes are being strategically identified and removed. The City’s goal is to trigger economic interest in developing new affordable rental housing units on these sites.
Additionally, at the recommendation of the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families, 6051 Keubel St. was demolished.
A daycare sits directly behind this site, and due to the hazards this property presented, they had to limit the activities for the kids outside and reached out to the Mayor’s Office to express their fears and concerns, making this property a priority target.
Code Enforcement recently completed two major demolitions in Algiers as well. Working collaboratively, Safety and Permits and Code Enforcement were able to remove the structures on 1639 Horace St. and 1244 Lebouf St.
The property located on LeBouf was severely fire damaged, but the New Orleans Fire Department was able to keep the fire from spreading to the newly constructed dwelling next door.
Photo (via Google Maps) shows the building at 1639 Horace St. prior to demolition.