Mayor Faces Resistance in Demolishing Blighted Properties
Posted on Apr 18, 2011 in Katrina, Local Issues
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been following through on his plan to clean up 10,000 of the cities nuisance properties by 2014. However, preservationists, including the producers of the HBO series Treme, have spoken out against the demolition of a section of shotgun houses in Central City.
Images of the houses had been used in Treme’s promotional material multiple times. Producers of the show wrote a letter, which was hand delivered to the Mayor’s office, in support of leaving the buildings. The letter is quoted as saying, “These structures were in disrepair to be sure, but they were perfect for us because they showed both the burden and the promise of this great city, the threat of collapse and the hope of renewal.”
Despite the poetic words, yesterday a bulldozer tore through the row of dilapidated buildings. The Mayor’s plan to remove blight focused on crumbling buildings near schools and playgrounds. The shotgun houses served as a tempting yet dangerous play spot to children at a nearby playground.
As the city continues to grow and repair, it is important to come to terms with what will be left behind. These shotgun houses were an important part of New Orleans’ architectural history, but rather than fighting to preserve the ruins of our past, we should be ensuring a promising future that is uniquely New Orleans.