New Orleans Riverfront Plan Sparks Excitement, Worries

<p>An ambitious plan to redevelop the Mississippi Riverfront in New Orleans has locals excited about the prospect of a huge boost to the economy, but some are leery about the negative impact the project could have on the city's unique character.</p>
July 29, 2007, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The project, scheduled to be unveiled to the public on Saturday, would reconnect the city with the Mississippi River, creating a 4.5-mile stretch of bikeways, jogging trails, cruise ship terminals and hotels on city-owned riverfront property two blocks from the French Quarter. The ambitious plan, steered by the New Orleans Building Corporation, a city agency led by Cummings, comes at a time when much of the city is still rebuilding from the catastrophic flooding unleashed by Hurricane Katrina. It has sparked a recurring debate here among residents: How to rebuild New Orleans without losing the sultry flair and grit that made this city famous?"

"Advocates of the plan say the new riverfront will infuse the city with much-needed tax revenue and tourists. Critics say the project will gentrify nearby historic neighborhoods, such as Bywater, a 19th-century collection of shotgun homes and Creole cottages."

"'It's totally out of context and out of character and out of scale with the wonderful historic neighborhoods,' said Nathan Chapman, president of a French Quarter advocacy group."

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Published on Friday, July 27, 2007 in The Clarion-Ledger
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