Claiborne Corridor


Tear that wall down

Here’s a link to a story about when highways are removed from inner cities:

This is an issue at the forefront in New Orleans because of the ramps to the Claiborne Expressway built in the 1960s, need to be repaired soon. “An option that’s been tossed around for awhile is to remove the overpass, restore a former tree-lined boulevard there and let traffic run along it and surrounding streets.”

It may be important to remember both the spur that was never built:



And the expressway that was:


And what Claiborne used to look like:
As long as we’re on this story again, I am always surprised by how many freethinkers still trot out the erroneous story of how the win to not build the Riverfront spur in the Quarter in the 1960s led to the Claiborne Expressway. Simply not true.

In any case, it’s time to focus on the positive benefits of taking down the Claiborne Expressway and make sure that more negative developments are not put in its place.

Claiborne Expressway History and Future

As is said clearly in this video by downtown leader Vaughn Fauria, the spur of the Expressway that was slated to go through the French Quarter and was defeated was not the same project as the Claiborne Expressway. Too many people repeat the untruth that the preservationists simply pushed the hated highway over to Treme, but as described in detail in the landmark book “The Second Battle of New Orleans: A History of the Vieux Carre Riverfront Expressway Controversy”, the Riverfront spur was a separate project in the development of the I-10 system. Ironically, that spur through the French Quarter was added as a benefit to the Quarter as the planners thought that it would ensure that the Quarter wouldn’t be left out of the auto-centric future. ugh.

However, even though the Claiborne action was not the result of the FQ stoppage, there is no doubt that the placement of highways in the 1950s-1970s was based partly on appeasing existing power elites (read rich white residents or white business associations) and therefore, on the prevalence of institutional racism in municipal decisions.
The takedown of the Claiborne Expressway is far from decided but as long as the residents and businesses that surround it are the primary stakeholders consulted in the final decision, it is likely that whatever results, it will be better than what we have now.