WWL>Topics>>4-21-14 3:10pm Angela: on the NOLA lakefront

4-21-14 3:10pm Angela: on the NOLA lakefront

Apr 21, 2014|

Angela talks with Dr. David Myers of the Lakeshore Property Owners Association about latest developments on the New Orleans lakefront.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- I could listen to -- Campbell for about sixteen years. She is just this walking wealth of information and we're gonna have her back. We're going to be talking about other things that we need to know when she. One thing in particular food label she -- are about to change in -- talk about myths and eating and food and we just have to be very alert but I know I'm not alone with sugar addiction. And it is something that I'm an address like keep looking at her saying if I can give up cigarettes and that was rough. I can give option okay we're gonna move on to something. Very very nice. 100 years ago it was a small. Today it's one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New Orleans were talking about lakeshore. In this beautiful area has been in the news of late. Concerning the opening of lakeshore drive to traffic both ways. On the weekends. So for the latest on our on the porch segment we've invited the president of the lakeshore property owners association. Doctor David Myers. And I appreciate you joining us thank you -- -- -- you live in a beautiful area yesterday don't -- -- -- out there and I did not know -- -- little research on this. But it but some not born and raised two year that it was a swap that it was reclaimed. That's correct them what that area that is known as lake shore is between Robert. On the west side and -- Marconi on the on the east. Abiding towards like Vista. But all of those neighborhoods like lake shore lake Vista to make jokes in my tariffs were all created died during the WPA. As a flood protection measure. The seawall as we know it the concrete wall that extends into the lake was our first levee protection system essentially that was built by the WPA in. Roosevelt administration. And essentially. It just raise the level of as the land abiding the lake to -- same level as you -- receive up seawall today. To be above sea level there and that was the initial barrier to block the lake from coming into lake -- would would -- couple become lake view and gentility. It predates me I'm only 45 years old but enough parking Betsy. There was no Levy on top of the area out there Communist seawall. After arcane Nazis and they built -- additional Levy protection on top of that land. So back in the forties and fifties on after World War II. Was when the neighborhoods were all laid out that area before the neighborhoods is actually military bases that was used during the war. And then after the military bases were closed. The Levy board on the land that was there and a car dobbs says that all that land between Robert Heatley in the lake mine between seawall. Into the different neighborhoods that are there now. And the neighborhoods were built in many of the homes that were built along the edge of the properties towards the lake. Had views ground for views of Lake Pontchartrain. The levees and we're built after that and many of those firms that -- first four views of the lake or obstructed by the Levy system. Which of course is important as we saw arcane to protect this for the surges that -- -- -- -- -- absolutely and now they have beautiful view of the left right tackle which is not a bad thing right -- and it's still nice to be this so close Communists and many of us that live on the lake front you know really enjoyed being able to be out there easily it's a great park area for everybody. Our kids and visitors. I'm fortunate enough to live right on the Levy itself and -- actually my second Ford does have a -- over the -- sockets from switches and and a wonderful work that's been done with the linked to make it. Beautiful again yes definitely it's and -- there's some ongoing work going on out there right now. In tandem with some of the changes from the -- structures. And that's some of the things that the neighborhood is concerned about as well to -- impact of these construction projects on nearby firms in the truck traffic and things -- along with that. And there's also. After right now Nazi to. Basically paved the section from lake shore drive to the seawall. There's a grassy strip along there that oftentimes gets eroded by the northern winds in the wintertime and pushes all that -- and are on the lakeshore drive. And then -- asked to close yet to close the wings because in the modern debris on the rendered. So there's a project going on two on beautify that with concrete and some planners in new lighting and things like that along. That actual seawall between lake shore drive in the -- And -- that'll be completed hopefully in the next couple months a Seymour and and every day out there. And and again I'm just trying to visualize and I can understand which is saying not to get them. The month etc. but it is along the seawall correct. There's. There's grass there now right what was there before he had basically the lake water the seawall concrete and then there was a strip of grass so OK and then it went to the street and says there park benches and things on that little strip of grass and we're only talking about and most sections of the last 101215 feet of grass. And the water the waves are very happy crashing up over the seawall eroded that that -- that grass they tried to the year several different types of barriers. That would keep the water from washing all that have and really it's just never worked so what they've done now is actually just -- that area with some decorative paving. And -- benches and then they're gonna have some big planners I think they're gonna have some trees and as well -- is the marina in your area is well well the -- technically isn't part of lakeshore although what goes on -- certainly is on the important -- Lake -- -- out west and in the -- -- -- the west of that thing that's for however. I think marina and the Weston park area which is very close to where we live. Is extremely under utilized as a jam hidden gem of New Orleans if you had that area in other cities in this country. Chicago San Francisco -- marinas waterfront areas are hub of of activity for both city residents and tourists as well -- and it's really an area that I think has long been neglected. Primarily because of the fact that the Levy board which really regulates all that property is so strapped for cash and ways to one economy increase the utilization. That you're absolutely right he put that in any other place and it's it's where life yes it's what's happened in the warehouse district you would think when you think in an area Smith right. I want everyone to stay with this were gonna come back and talk to doctor Myers. We were talking about -- lakeshore area but very interesting thing happened last week where lakeshore drive has now opened -- Seven days week in Morgan talk about that stay with this I'm Angela on WW well. Well we -- talking with doctor David Myers who's the president of the lakeshore property owners association. And again last week we all heard the news of sort of a contentious meeting of people who wanted to opening -- drive on the weekends. I really didn't understand. The whole history -- -- that had been closed for quite a long time correct it so it was open during the week but closed on the weekend. Correct it's four lanes of traffic in two directions and come up until this weekend on Saturdays and Sundays. The -- board would keep the lanes that code on the northern side of lake shore drive so that. Westbound lanes of traffic would be blocked and those would be able to be used by pedestrians runners bikers roller skaters everybody that. No one did recreational use those lanes and then the traffic would only go and one directions after -- eastbound. You could turn going towards the east. All along lakeshore drive and that restriction was only place on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate them more recreational use of lake front during that time. And and yet there was a resistance because people wanted. To keep -- -- was more recreational. Correct and that's what -- neighborhood really was in favor of unfortunately. The history of the lake front has of course a great deal of on -- racial undertones. With the segregation Ara. Which I have no direct and remembrance as I'm only in my forties on I grew up in New Orleans and it's time post desegregation. And dom but certainly there's a great deal of concern or an African American community in the city. That lack of access. On to the lake front and there was a feeling from residents in the east that because they couldn't drive from the east to the last. On the lake front that there were racial undertones to the restriction. On and so they wore trying to get that open so that on the weekends they contrive from the east the last of course you know we feel that. In the lakeshore. It's wide open to everybody you could easily drive down property leave and access the lake all along from canal boulevard west and Marconi and and everyone was opened to utilize the lake and as I said earlier knowledge directly on the lake and I know from my own observation every weekend that there are families from all segments of varsity that are enjoying all the Levy in the lake front -- whether they're black white Hispanic. Whatever everybody was out there and in large numbers enjoying immediately front before. And the thing that concerns us and lakeshore. On and other neighborhoods that about the -- well too is that with two lanes of tart with four lanes of traffic both going in opposite directions. And when the speed limit that's about thirty miles and now are on that section there's no. Stoplights or stop signs all the way from the Seabrook bridge to west and that this would become basically an expressway for people to use that time when. There's so much utilization by public. Recreational uses. You know -- gain lasting that we wanna see is little kids trying to run from playground to the lake. And running out and four lanes of traffic that -- is you know a great deal to to get across. On and so our biggest concern is to keep that recreational use and to limit the traffic on the weekends it's open everybody during the week Monday through Friday. On why not on the weekends have it be more dedicated to the recreational use that everybody would enjoy. The most of any thought of a compromise we're. And how they would do one Blaine it would strictly be bikes and runners right and that's really what the -- board of the non asset. Flood management board. From -- on flawed asset management board. On voted to change was that they would open the restriction and so now on the weekends it's four lanes in both directions but there was an amendment to the measure that was passed which gives them sixty day window. To try to meet and create alternative traffic flow pattern for the entire lake front. And and we would certainly be very much in favor of that. The biking groups in the city were very concerned because the bikers of course can be utilized that section of the lake is a beautiful place to bike. And on and enjoying. That traffic and the dangers that we recently saw the Tillman product town that was killed riding a bike in a four lane rendered. And so on they came up with -- alternative plan that would allow for traffic in both directions with a one lane for each. For extraction. And an auto lanes to be dedicated for use for bikers and pedestrians. And that would be in effect hopefully not only on the weekends but seven days -- week so that now the recreational use the lake -- would be the top priority. And that the safety of those people that are enjoying it would be. You know game we eat in the lake front really just don't wanna see it become another interstate it's not supposed to be. The traffic senator should be a place that people would come and enjoy the beauty of lake for. I wonder especially on weekends if that does become sort of a drag race place. That there are more more of a police presence get a few tickets yeah and I think that's another of our great concerns is that the levee board police actually is that entity that's responsible for that section of the city. Rather than an -- game and so -- -- -- -- police don't have any funding source right now. Represented Russo was really instrumental in getting a measure passed through this legislature. A year or so ago that will create a funding source for the non. Flood asset portion on the landing system and now we'll have some -- dedicated to more police presence by Tom we are concerned about the fact that the board. Did -- votes kind of hardly in our opinion. Overturn the restriction without the plans in place on you know we do need more police presence with increased traffic. Do you think that there is a risk that people that are enjoying it recreational -- and and at the police to release patrol whether there's. Plus being a drag racing going on which I can assure you living there that there is drag race and goes on there even before hand. You can hear that tire screeching at times on the weekend -- -- a big swath of road like that yes very very tempting it is something any thought that they might put a light him when you talk about kids crossing the street that's huge. Yes it is and that's what you know I think it all needs to be reconsidered I think the speed limit should be dropped significantly I don't see any reason why that should be 35 mile an hour speed element -- that section. On it should be 2025. At the most. On it certainly counting stops at stop signs for a stop signs -- all along -- also deter our. On people from drive fast for extended periods there and certainly cross walks as well too with potentially stop -- would break the traffic as well. On an out all of this things I think the neighborhood would be extremely much paper. It's having to rethink. A very larger road has long wrote. And you know put a few signs but if you think. Two tickets and I'm not the -- -- giving tickets but if that's what it takes. So that everybody can enjoy it yes definitely very special. It is and I think that the more that people don't realize how nice it is if it is a place that you can go safety. And bring your kids on the you know I I this time of the year for. Flying high seven picnics on the it's beautiful and I certainly is something that is an asset for the city. Did you notice of any. Fewer people there this weekend -- lot of people were probably running in the classic correct classic and with it being Easter but there was still a large number of people yesterday -- my family and I enjoyed beautiful day on sitting on a balcony in Washington sailboats and -- there were a lot of families and -- -- front yesterday with the weather being so pretty. On but I did notice when we -- out there and we drive along lake front -- go to saint Pius church. And there was no bikers at all in the morning when usually see quite a bit so whether it was Easter that stopped matter whether it's the now that the traffic is you know going on out on there there are unlikely to be out there and immerse them. We'll stay with this we're gonna continue our talk with doctor David Meyer about the link for -- after the well lakeshore neighborhood is a gorgeous area of New Orleans and again -- we've already learned is that if you were born and raised -- is neither. As I was not didn't know that it was really only in the fifties to these neighborhoods came around. That prior to that that it was filled in land that it was military that it was. Incredible history. Doctor David Myers is president of lakeshore property owners association. And as we have with all of our neighborhoods I'd like to talk about what you'll have experienced both good and bad post-Katrina. -- so I think that post-Katrina we've done very well long lake front fortunately most of our land. On is above sea level there has it was part of the original -- structure. And -- only about half of lakeshore neighborhood actually had significant flooding from Katrina and that certainly a lot quicker recovery. On -- we really. Deserve to attribute our our president's past. Stanley Cohen and James has. Who are very instrumental in really attacking the -- concerns that came post-Katrina. In our neighborhood really has very limited on any blighted properties boarded up properties is extremely limited abilities and it's because that's still a problem so many neighborhood I think it was more just about trying to put pressure locally you know on the on the property owners to move forward to make sure that those properties were identified to the city and that they -- no. Encouraged to make changes. And then when you have surrounding properties that are being rebuilt and and rehab aggressively. On it certainly makes for that to be easier for the remaining residents to see that there is worth investing in that area because everybody else is coming back so. On the you know you can see that happening in lake view engine -- now it's just taken a lot longer but once there's new construction starting. It makes it that much easier to get that empty lot bought and built on. Or perhaps that remains -- to be renovated and and Dick Stockton and utilized for living so it's grain. And so we've been done really well the and here it is almost fully occupied now there are some parcels that are still empty lots. But those are still pretty few and far between -- And you -- other victories with getting street money correctly and that's another great thing that we've more able to do with Stanley's. Great influence. The neighborhood association really pushed hard. After the storm to you identify. The streets that would damage from this that significant flooding in the neighborhood that was flawed and down certainly. Housing didn't yet completely flooded but all the streets were completely flooded with water for a long period of time and there was significant damage the streets related to that. And Stanley in the neighborhood group really went back and tried to identify. Specific damage to the streets that we can attribute to the storm and re apply for FEMA money to pay for the repairs of the streets and sidewalks. And fortunately that was application was accepted. And -- money was earmarked by the federal government actually has been. Doled out we've been waiting though for those monies to be spent on the streets they still not fixed and that's still remains a grave concern from the neighborhood. That we've got this money that's already been allocated and yet the streets here we are eight years later and it's still not done. I'm what is the anti. How did answer we've got the money but we don't have the manpower yet there's not really clear clear explanation of it it's more about priority and and timing that street repairs were supposed to begin in the fall of last year when thirteen. However than we were told that there was a delaying and that it would start in the spring of this year. Here we are in the spring of this year and I don't see any changes happen in -- neighborhood when it comes to street repairs and Todd mark repairs that weren't supposed to be getting. Hopefully that's going to be starting person do you are you communication with the council person yes and that's we had indeed did have a change that was one of the other non items I didn't wanna. Mentioned today was that our neighborhoods are part of the change in did redistricting. So while we now have a part we're now park district. As a group with the new redistricting. And so we'll -- now underneath City Council member lacked his -- process you know and we have our. On spring neighborhood association meeting coming up enough early part of -- And mr. processes is going to be there to meet -- residence which will be great. And he can just. Branded the council new energy yes he'll bring -- an insane given them the money yeah we're really got it we're really looking forward to meet him and hopefully he can champion a cause we -- more part of -- and injuries district prior to that. And last season was constantly nagging people about why this is not happening on actually optioned back at him enough. It's just. The constant daily battles -- about street lights yeah we don't really great with street lights I have to give tribute into another of our can't. -- -- Our board members on -- Nash on who is no longer a board member really worked hard on in keeping up with these basically Don greater degree excel spreadsheet. And he would go through the neighborhood and and get feedback from the neighbors on our website from. CU identify street -- -- and he would populated his spreadsheet and then email that on to the people energy. On so that they would get a report directly from the neighborhood every so often every couple months to detail what lights are still Iowa lights affixed. And on and what changes that are going on with each one so we've generally well it at continuing that calling Cambridge is a member of the board now. Has taken over non spot in in championing that cause so. If we have by anyone in the neighborhood that's -- street lights being out they can report that to us through the website and it went on and that is phenomenal because that -- we talked our neighborhood groups that is a big deal and not getting the lights yeah -- all -- figured out -- -- our recommendation is just make sure that -- organized and presented to to the energy people because if you rely on them to -- To wait till they're gonna come out and see it and -- it it really isn't gonna happen you know where Larry attractive man identifying points are reporting that too quickly it's. Everyone stay with -- we're gonna continue with our top with doctor Myers about crime right after that. We're doing are on the front porch visit with not lakeshore property and a property owners association president doctor David Myers talking about a really beautiful neighbors but neighborhood but not without problems. Correct -- I think our biggest concern we have our meetings of the neighborhood first as the condition of canal boulevard. On canal boulevard from Robert. On has not been resurfaced in thirty years or more. On there's been quite a few promises that this section of Campbell of -- would be re surfaced in repaired. As it's presently nearly on drivable many sections. If you drive more than about ten or fifteen miles an hour can promise you about a car Aaron and to damage. And on that section between Robert. It was kind of separated and never has been fixed. We've been promised through the years and it was going to be fixed for many years it was supposed to be Tony twelve and 2013 and 2014 now we hear that it's -- between fifteen and gain. You know we've not seen that happen. And this is a section of road that wasn't covered by the FEMA monies that were allocated which were relief for small back streets as opposed to the mean our fair. Which is a city and let -- board yet our fair project that should be gone. And so that's the main concern of our neighbors just to see that section of the -- and again I mean the response when you saying. Guys we need help right it's just like everybody years we'll get to yeah well don't worry we'll get to India and we've been hearing that for a long long time only prominent section. It's it's certainly if you drive from. The beginning of canal street at the river all the way down canal boulevard to the lake. You'll be able to drive it all perfectly until you get to our section which is on drive -- many spots the rest of it is usually guts that we'd like to see him finishing completed. You know that's a way that people can access the lake front. On to come on enjoying the beauty of like Italy can. And certainly drive and out there you're coming the visitors are you know people from out of town they get to that sections like. We are on earth is this part of new moral offenses you know this looks like the -- What about crime. We're really doing quite well and the arts crime. We certainly have our share of minimal things. Auto break ins and -- every now and then some home burglaries but the -- really you know we do quite well we have a great neighborhood organization in the -- you crime prevention district -- really oversees a lot of assistance in preventing crime. And reporting that. I'm certainly some are concerns with the opening of the lake front to the traffic on the weekends and -- certainly you know is to you know control some of that as well to. And to make sure that we have enough police presence to. Do you there if people do come out in the evening. And there's not any. You know from -- behavior going on at the -- But but your bigger concern is more of the safety issue for. That that drag racing absolutely yes the drag racing com is is a big concern with a two way traffic and lack of stop signs and and -- lights and and certainly that's it that's a huge issue for -- Going back to original thing about that just meeting that was held about reopening it. -- me if I'm wrong but I'm hearing you say is nobody was opposed to it being open it was open it with a plan that's ground they've opened it and then are going to do plan. That's correct that's correct and we certainly don't wanna see tragedy happened on the lake front where there's all these young families. Enjoying the media there and and that recreational activity that goes on and and I have someone get killed or injured on because they've got across four lanes traffic. You know gain we were. I'm not a -- the opening of the lake front from the east the west if that was the direction the traffic should flow -- and everyone feel that that was a fairer way. On that was certainly a position that we had that to keep it as a one way flow of traffic which would gain leave lanes open for biking and recreational use. And on and access for everyone to be able to get there. But not to have the potential of high accidents where you haven't dedicated -- for the bikers in the people in the rural skating in jockeying and whatnot that that there are people just trying to cross. Yet across from the big grassy area a park side of the by the lake front and get across the -- this fishing and people you know -- even swimming and some sections now as well to. On the you know you got across four lanes of two directional traffic with net stop signs or anything to get across that and that really is a challenge. Did you get a sense they were very committed to. I'm really looking at it from safety viewpoint and they will put silent. Do our hope is that that will happen and not fear is that sixty day window will pass on that LB still on restricted traffic there all time. In that and gain it'll take a tragedy. For our concerns to really be him -- -- -- around the -- yeah that's correct all the kids out there yeah buying -- school's going to be ending in excess certainly people been out there more. On the even during the week a game that's concern. On the -- to a four lane traffic Monday through Friday before. And so why you know be very nice to see it the a park which is really what it is rather than freeway. Well we will stay in touch with the -- that is will stay with -- everyone will be right back. Doctor David Myers has been our -- for the last hour talking about his beautiful neighborhood lakeshore area and again there's still issues and and one of them I hit all the time I go to -- yourself. Yeah we really concerned about the intersection of west and and Robert lately and traffic that's there. It is a shopping center entrance that comes in. Residents trying to exit the neighborhood from that street on the robbery Lee to then go towards west and on its just poorly managed and we really would like to see the city look at that exchange and maybe you re striking and such that there's. A light stopping traffic before they hit west and boulevard and that would allow for. It exit and entrance from the shopping center in the neighborhood where that's not block on the traffic on property league. And there's been quite a bit accidents there just because people can use. I thank you very very much for joining us we'd love to get to know your neighborhood.