18 November 2005

Photo du Jour: Welcome to Lakeview

The New Basin Canal was dug in the 1830s and provided access from Lake Pontchartrain to the Faubourg St. Mary (the CBD) culminating with a turning basin at the current Louisiana Superdome site. Thousands of Irish immigrant laborers died during construction of the canal because of yellow fever and cholera epidemics that swept the city. The canal was filled in the mid-20th century and I-10 from the I-610 split to South Claiborne follows its former path. Towards the Lake from the I-10/I-610 split, the former canal is the most expansive neutral ground (median) around dividing Pontchartrain (riverbound) and West End (lakebound) Boulevards for a distance of almost two miles. The New Basin Canal Park is mostly undeveloped green space with a fair amount of trees, a bike path, and a monument to commemorate the Irish that died when digging the no longer existing canal.

Because of its sheer openness and its central location, parts of this space are being used as dump-off and staging area in the removal of the tons and tons of ruined things created from the KTMB flooding. Every everyday thing and household item imaginable can be seen in this pile that two weeks ago (when this picture was taken) was over thirty feet high. Standing next to this really brings home the severity of the situation and the amount of loss incurred from this disaster. Toys, stuffed animals, bikes, coffee makers, mattresses, books . . . And the Lakeview neighborhood sign just sits there being engulfed by all of this stuff. Behind this pile towards Harrison Avenue sits another large heap dedicated to organic debris such as tree stumps and limbs. Similar mountains of tree debris can be seen out in Metairie at Lafrenier Park.


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