An interesting article in the T-P the other day updates the thinking and possible future of the stretch of Claiborne that is now overshadowed by I-10. That area and its history was of the course the subject of an essay in LfNO. Apparently the city has recently landed “a $2 million federal grant to study ways to revitalize the Claiborne corridor, including possible demolition of the 2.2-mile stretch of elevated roadway between Elysian Fields Avenue and the Pontchartrain Expressway.”
Katy Reckdahl’s story about a brass band contest under the freeway included interesting comments on this. Ellis Joseph of the Free Agents Brass Band cheered the idea: “”It would bring it back like it was in the old days, when my grandparents and parents used to gather out here and chill.”
But Derrick Moss, bass drummer for the Soul Rebels, said the damage has already been done.
“They spent all this money to build it and moved all these people out of their homes,” said Moss, recounting the painful history of how North Claiborne and the thriving African-American-owned businesses that once lined it withered after the elevated roadway split the neighborhood. “Why spend all sorts of money to tear it down?” he asked. “Just use it for something positive, like today.”
Playwright Asali Devan-Ecclesiastes said she found the whole demolition idea “kind of sad,” a common sentiment on Saturday.
After the expressway divided the community 50 years ago, she said, neighbors incorporated the structure into their music and art. “Now they want to take it down. How much do they want people to adjust?”