Map du Jour: 1828 New Orleans and the Carondelet Canal
New Orleans, 1828. Faubourg Marigny, the Vieux Carre, Faubourg St. Mary, Treme, and the Lower Garden District . . . they're all there--hugging the high ground along La Fleuve. The Carondelet Canal can be seen running diagonally from the backside of the Vieux Carre (at the current-day Louis Armstrong Park) to Bayou St. John (near the current-day city vehicle inspection station near the end of Jefferson Davis Parkway) . The Carondelet Canal (later renamed the Old Basin Canal) enhanced the natural "back door" of New Orleans to Bayou St. John and Lake Pontchartrain and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico for over 130 years. In the 1930's once the maritime value of the canal was diminished, the canal was filled and the swath of land was converted to another transportation use: a railroad line. Industrial land uses and warehouses followed on adjacent properties to the corridor mid-century, but in the last twenty years those uses have waned as freight distribution shifted to trucking and away from trains. Today, the Lafitte Corridor, as it is now referred, presents a fantastic opportunity to convert a now largely abandoned right-of-way of land into a "rail-to-trail."
The routing of the corridor transverses the heart of New Orleans through Treme, Mid City, and Faubourg St. John and additionally connects with the existing greenspace along the banks of Bayou St. John. The to-be-developed Wisner Bike Path connection to Bayou St. John will potentially allow a continuous green path from Louis Armstrong Park to the WPA-"rebuilding"-era City Park to the WPA-"rebuilding" era parkspace along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain/Lakeshore Drive. The Laffite Corridor "rail-to-trail" project is a no-brainer--it will be a re-development and economic catalyst--and can be a lasting symbol of the rebuilding of New Orleans. Something is seriously flawed if this opportunity is squandered and not realized.
The Friends of Lafitte Corridor group was created to help see this project become a reality. They have established a yahoo discussion group which can be seen here. The Mid City Neighborhood Association website also periodically mentions developments of the Lafitte Corridor project. In May 2006, the 2nd Annual Lafiitte Corridor Hike was conducted to promote awareness of the greenspace potential of the right-of-way. Editor B's pictures of the event can be seen here.
TAGS: Katrina, New Orleans, NOLA, Mid City, Lafitte Corridor, Rail-to-Trail