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The most radical proposal I heard at last weekend’s AIA conference: Tear down the stretch of I-10 that passes through the center of New Orleans and restore North Claiborne to its former grandeur, routing interstate traffic onto 610 instead. I’m all for it.

Published inBrieflyEcologyNew Orleans


  1. SDF SDF

    editor b:

    I’ve often thought of that. The oaks that were taken down to build that garbage is so heartbreaking. The routing of I-10 along Claiborne was such as mistake. It wasn’t really needed IMO. One of the results (and reasons) for the Boston’s Big Dig was removing the eyesore and the Berlin Wall of that Interstate. Between I-610 and the Pontchartrain Expressway. the Claiborne stretch of I-10 could be eliviated. I’ve thought that the routing (if it had to occur) should have been down Galvez (not that I want to destroy that neighborhood/street either) to at least leave Claiborne (and those oaks) intact . . .

    Watched your interview yesterday. Good work.

  2. Editor B,

    I’d love to see that stretch of I-10 come down, but it will never happen. It’s the quickest way for westbound drivers to the CCC and the Quarter. Also, the rebuilding of all those ramps linking the CCC with US 90 will take years. (I know… I remember when they first built them.)

    And to restore N. Claibourne to it’s former glory? I was just a little one back then, but my mother shopped there dragging me along. It was a vibrant area, one that has decayed so very much over the last four decades plus. How can something so steeped in history truly be restored?

    It’s a wonderful thought, but I can’t see it happening.

  3. Stephanie Stephanie

    Brilliant idea and one I have proposed for years. We need to be less timid about how we think about the future of the city.

    N. Claiborne was the heart of the African American business district, so it did untold culyural harm to run I-10 over it (as bad or worse than demolishing many blocks of Treme to make Armstrong Park). For years people have been trying to figure out what to do to humanize the place – fountains, painted trees. I even heard Pres Kabacoff talking about imrpoving the intersections.

    But the harm the overpass done cannot be cured by cosmetics – the overpass needs to go away. The African American business district there likely can never be revived but at least – with the over pass gone – the street grid can be reconnected and the neutral ground (and oaks) restored.

    We have a lot of geotechnical problemsm to solve if we want to sink the expressway – as they did for the big dig in Boston. The soil is unconsolidated sediment and the water table is high, so it would be triky. And the fact that it would fill with water in rains probably means we can’t make that approach work.

    So maybe we need to get rid of it altogether.

    Bart – what AIA meetings are you talking about? I want to hear more about them. Stephanie

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